I love Australian music, but it takes a very special performer to compel me to buy tickets for each and every tour. David Campbell is one such talent. I caught the Good Lovin’ tour when it rolled around the first time in March, but was keen to go back for a second serve on Saturday night.

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While it was still called the Good Lovin’ show, I definitely wasn’t seeing the same concert. While many performers recycle their set lists and even their jokes as they tour about the country, David Campbell always appears fresh. He may have played gigs every day for months, but he didn’t show any signs of fatigue.

The set list was really different from the one I enjoyed in March, but with such an extensive back catalogue to draw from that’s never a bad thing. The sixties album Good Lovin’ was featured of course, with both album tracks and a few more inspired choices from the era. Chicago’s “Saturday In the Park” was lots of fun, and you could have heard a pin drop in the romantic ballad “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Then there were the standards drawing from both Swing Sessions CDs. Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguin” was another showstopper, while “Just a Gigolo” and “That’s Life” saw everyone singing along. A Louis Prima medley featuring The Jungle Book’s “I Wanna Be Like You” and “Pennies from Heaven” was another great surprise. David went back even further with tracks from Shout, his first big break in this country. We were treated to a taste of David’s forthcoming Broadway album with “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables, a profoundly moving performance that leaves me desperate to hear the new disc. His version of his father’s classic Cold Chisel number “Flame Trees” was also incredible.

The songs may have been markedly different, but their familiarity and David’s charisma helps make the eclectic mix work. I don’t think there’s a better showman in this country. He jokes easily with the audience, sharing anecdotes and delivering witty one-liners. He gyrates his hips like a modern day Elvis, making his female fans squeal with delight. But just as easily as he can make the room move, he can make it stop. He delivers a ballad like no one I’ve ever seen, with such a compelling stillness and conviction. With equal measures of heart and humour, David Campbell delivers one of the best shows I have ever seen in this country. I already can’t wait for the next tour.

Image source: own photo

Jacob Butler’s “Coma” is one of those songs I’ve loved since the first listen. So I was thrilled to see it popping up in the ads for the final week of Neighbours. Only time will tell whether it can do for this song what the Neighbours spot did for Kate Miller-Heidke’s “Last Day on Earth.” He’s so talented that I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Remember, Neighbours fans can look forward to more Jacob Butler goodness when he stops by to play Charlie’s Bar on January 20.
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It seems like quirky French rockers Phoenix were only just here, but they’ve announced they’ll make a return visit in 2010.

The band will play four shows in support of their critically acclaimed album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Miami Horror will offer support on all dates. You can snap up your tickets for the following shows on December 10.

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1 March 2010 – Convention Centre, Brisbane
2 March 2010 – Hordern Pavillion, Sydney
5 March 2010 – Festival Hall, Melbourne
6 March 2010 – Belvoir Ampitheatre, Perth

Image source: ZUMA Press

The cover art for Stan Walker’s debut album, Introducing … Stan Walker, has been revealed. I really like it! There’s definitely a vintage vibe to it. It seems Sony are trying to style Stan along the lines of classic soul stars like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Only time will tell whether that approach buys him the cred he needs to survive in a post-Idol world, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed. That kid has so much raw talent, something tells me we still haven’t seen anywhere near his best.

Introducing … Stan Walker hits stores on December 11.

Stan Walker_Album Cover

Image used with permission from Sony Music Australia

Those Short Stack boys continue to take Australia by storm. After three sell-out tours, including next month’s sold-out run, Short Stack have announced even more dates for next year.

The Stack is the New Black 2010 tour includes a very special show at the Sydney Opera House. What a way to close this tour!

“We want to give a large majority of Australia a chance to have to see us live by the end of 2010,” drummer and keyboardist Bradie Webb said. “If you haven’t seen our show yet, you can expect loud music, energetic fun and most importantly, the band of the future.”

The band is set to play all their hits from their number one album Stack is the New Black, including their latest single “Sweet December.”

Tickets go on sale on December 2. You know the drill. These shows will no doubt sell out like the last lot, so make sure you get in quick!

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26 March 2010 – Challenge Stadium, Perth
27 March 2010 – Entertainment Centre Theatre, Adelaide
9 April 2010 – Tivoli, Brisbane
10 April 2010 – Festival Hall, Melbourne
16 April 2010 – University of Canberra
17 April 2010 – Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre, Nowra
23 April 2010 – Panthers, Newcastle
24 April 2010 – Opera House, Sydney

Image source: Moved Accounts. @ Flickr

Fresh from his fourth ARIA win, Josh Pyke has announced a brand new solo tour.

Josh will perform tracks from Chimney’s Afire, the disc which saw Josh Pyke take home his second adult contemporary album award. This comes after the CD debuted at number one of the ARIA charts, and went gold shortly after.

This tour sees Josh playing small theatres in solo acoustic mode. This is your last chance to see Josh live before he holes himself up to write album number three. Russell Crawford will provide the support for all shows. Tickets are on sale now from the venues.

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7 January 2010 – Milton Theatre
8 January 2010 – Tathra Hotel
9 January 2010 – Narooma Golf Club
10 January 2010 – Sussex Inlet RSL
21 January 2010 – Golden Vine Hotel, Bendigo
22 January 2010 – Rubys, Belgrave
23 January 2010 – The Loft, Warrnambool
24 January 2010 – Torquay Hotel
25 January 2010 – Western Port Hotel, San Remo
26 February 2010 – Lizottes, Newcastle
27 February 2010 – Lizottes, Kincumber

Image source: Newscom

Empire of the Sun were the big winners at last night’s ARIA Awards. The electro-pop duo took out four awards on the night: best group, best album, best pop release, and best single for “Walking on a Dream.”

But thankfully there wasn’t the same sort of pool sweeping we’ve seen in recent years. Ladyhawke and AC/DC each bagged a double, while the rest of the night’s successes were shared around. That’s what I like to see! We’ve got so many brilliant performers here, and a night like that only reinforces it.

I could bore you with all the “who won what” talk, but chances are that you probably already know. If you don’t, you can read about it underneath. Instead I’d much rather share with you my highlight of the night. No, it wasn’t Empire of the Sun with their crazy colorful costumes or international ring-in Robbie Williams. I was impressed by the medley of singer-songwriters Lisa Mitchell, Kate Miller-Heidke, and best female talent winner Sarah Blasko. Any one of these three amazing women could have won the title. What a shame they didn’t each get to perform a complete song. This was magical.

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Album of the Year: Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream
Single of the Year: Empire of the Sun, “Walking on a Dream”
Breakthrough Artist Album: Ladyhawke, Ladyhawke
Breakthrough Artist Single: Ladyhawke, “My Delirium”
Best Group: Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream
Best Female Artist: Sarah Blasko, As Day Follows Night
Best Male Artist: Daniel Merriweather, Love & War
Best Rock Album: AC/DC, Black Ice
Best Pop Release: Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream
Best Urban Release: Hilltop Hoods, State of the Art
Best Dance Release: The Presets, Talk Like That
Best Blues & Roots Album: C.W. Stoneking, Jungle Blues
Best Country Album: Troy Cassar-Daley, I Love This Place
Best Independent Release: Bertie Blackman, Secrets and Lies
Best Adult Contemporary Album: Josh Pyke, Chimneys Afire
Best DVD: Sia, TV is my Parent
Best Childrens Album: The Wiggles, The Wiggles Go Bananas!
Best Comedy Release: Hamish and Andy, Unessential Listening
Highest Selling Single: Jessica Mauboy, “Running Back”
Highest Selling Album:
AC/DC, Black Ice

Sam Clark’s walking the well-trodden path from Neighbours star to singing sensation. But there’s something different about the lad otherwise known as Ringo Brown. Far from just a voice and pretty face, Sam writes songs and plays instruments. I caught up with him today to chat about his new single “Broken”, Ramsey Street, and those inevitable screaming fans.SamClark1-resized

You’ve just released your new single “Broken.” Can you tell me what the song’s about?

It’s basically a break-up song. The song’s about the growth that two people have once they’re apart, after a break-up, and how these two people can deal with that. Sometimes people break up and they get back together and they both want to get back together and it’s all good. And sometimes people break up and they realise they’ve made a mistake and they want to get back together with that other person, but that person’s kind of grown in a different direction to what that other person’s used to. So it’s just about dealing with those emotions and that sort of funny situation where you think you know someone so well but you don’t actually in the end.

Most people may know you from your role as Ringo on Neighbours. How hard is it to balance your acting career with the music?
The hardest thing with it is time. Obviously the acting takes up a huge amount of time. We’re working on Neighbours anywhere from 40 to 55 hours a week. And add to that music rehearsals through the week and on the weekends, and you’re starting to run out of time to do any of the fun stuff with your friends. I’m sort of lucky. I’ve gotten better with my time management in that regard. I don’t really procrastinate too much anymore, which is a good thing I suppose. But it’s definitely a juggling act trying to make the two of them fit together, especially when there’s a great opportunity for one which clashes with a great opportunity for another. How do you make that decision? But it seems to be working well so far. I’m lucky enough to have three months off from Neighbours at the moment to go on this tour to promote the release of my debut single, and I’m looking forward to getting back into acting at the start of next year as well.

Now many people may think “Oh no, not another soap star releasing a single,” but I hear music was actually your first love. How did you get into making music?
I was about 15. I always wanted to play guitar or drums, and I finally got my act together and went out and bought a guitar and turned to my sisters to teach me the open chords. And it all went from there. I’ve taught myself since then. As soon as I could play a song I wanted to sing it as well, so I started singing. And as soon as I could play and sing then I wanted to write my own music. So it sort of came from there really, just a natural progression into the songwriting. And more recently I’ve started playing keyboard as well.

Yeah, I was reading that you’re writing and playing all these instruments. Do you have a favourite part of the creative process?
I suppose it’s different for each song. Or maybe it’s not different. Maybe it’s actually finding that part that’s special about each song. Sometimes it’ll be at the very start of the process. I know I rewrote a song of mine, “These Days,” and I was just jamming with my band over it and I started playing keyboards instead of guitar, and I just came up with this little hook on the keys. Now every time I play that, that’s the most special part of the song, and that came right at the very start of the rewrite. So I suppose it’s different for each thing, but it’s just what makes you feel special, whatever makes you feel happy and good.
Read the rest of this entry…

If early reaction is any indication, it seems Stan Walker might have the stuff to have a successful musical career.

The reigning Australian Idol’s first single “Black Box” is sitting pretty at number one on the iTunes countdown, and it’s become the fastest selling Sony Music digital release to date.

Physical CD singles are a bit of a rarity these days, but “Black Box” will buck the trend and hit stores on Wednesday 25 November.

We’ll see the video on our TV screens real soon. Stan’s filming it this week ahead of its release next Tuesday.

Stan mania doesn’t show any signs of dying down soon, with Introducing … Stan Walker hitting stores on 11 December. As reported earlier, this compilation album features some of Stan’s highlights on the show, and two new songs including “Black Box.”

Image source: PicApp

Tumbleweed were a force to be reckoned with in the 90s, riding the wave of grunge rock’s popularity. They parted ways more than a decade ago, but now they’re back. I recently caught up with drummer Steve O’Brien to find out what it’s like to be doing it all again.

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You’ve taken a lengthy break from the music scene. What inspired you to get back out there?
Well we haven’t taken a break from the music scene as such; all members of Tumbleweed have been busy over the last 10 or 15 years in several other bands, touring between Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and releasing several CDs. See Richie & the Creeps, the Pink Fits, Monstrous Blues, Leadfinger, The Unheard, Brother Brick, the Yes Men and more.

How does it feel to be back playing together?
It is good fun. It sort of clicked right from the start like it had only been a few weeks apart. There is also plenty of piss taking too so it’s all a laugh.

Is anything different for the band this time around?
Err, we’re older and fatter and wiser, but I think we’re playing better as musicians. We’ve learned a hell of a lot and hope to avoid certain mistakes again.

You hadn’t played a live show together in almost a decade. Were there any nerves?
There were a few before the Waves show – our first show back together in 15 years – mainly how we’d go down and perform in front of a sell-out crowd. But after a few wobbly bits at the start I think we settled back in fairly well. Homebake will be interesting as there will be a few of our kids at that show and they’re big Short Stack fans so we better play better than them!

You started your new tour in Wollongong. How important was it for you to play first for that home town audience?
Well, it was supposed to be a friend only gig at first for selected guests. Then we realised that there’d be a few who’d wanna be there. It was far more comfortable than say doing Sydney or Melbourne straight up.
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