2010 may go down in history as the year of nostalgia tours. Following announcements that Spandau Ballet, Tears for Fears, Huey Lewis and the News, Backstreet Boys, and Whitney Houston are heading our way comes word that Black Box will join them.

I haven’t heard a lot about Black Box in recent years. In fact, I haven’t even given them a passing thought. But promoters are hoping that fans will remember their cover of “Fantasy” and the smash hit “Ride on Time.” If you don’t, here’s the video to refresh your memory.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7Tt8GjLwMg]

The venues are small, so this might just be a sell out!

7 March 2010 – Market Hotel, Melbourne
13 March 2010 – Function and Convention Centre, Sydney
14 March 2010 – Workers Club, Revesby

I must admit, I’m suffering from my mid-week slump a little early this week. Mondays always make it hard to get moving, and it seems Tuesday hasn’t been much better. What I need is a little music to lift my spirits!

The high-energy sounds of Cassie Davis have hit the spot. She recorded this track, ironically titled “Don’t Wanna Dance” as it makes me want to do just that, in front of Parliament House on Australia Day. Word is that this rocking tune may be Cassie’s next single, although it hasn’t been confirmed as yet. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSUJMAFmXts]

I have been a Rob Thomas fan for almost half my life. I have never missed a tour, so you can bet that when he announced he was bringing his Cradlesong shows Down Under I was first in the queue to get tickets.

But as the day approached I began to get a little nervous. The unsettled weather we’d experienced in the past week filled me with dread, as did the grey skies I saw as we made the drive out to Hope Estate.

But I was determined not to let anything dampen my good mood. I was seeing Rob Thomas after all. But before that, it was time for Ryan Meeking and the Few to take the stage. I was so excited to see this band after falling in love with their EP Night Owls. What a shame that after just a handful of songs those heavens opened up, putting an abrupt end to their set.

And didn’t it rain. I had never truly been soaked to the skin before, but now I know what that phrase means. The water was everywhere, in our bags, all through our clothes. Boy I felt for those poor folks in general admission who were told they couldn’t bring in chairs! But as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. An experience like that sees you chatting to perfect strangers and funnily enough, still smiling.
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It’s February 14th, and you know what that means. Love is in the air! Or at least, that’s what Hallmark and Cadbury would like you to believe. Personally, I believe you should show the ones you love how much you care every day, but I don’t mind a day that’s all about extra kisses and some cheesy love songs. This one by our own John Paul Young is one of the cheesiest. I really wish I could have tracked down that tragic music video released around the time Strictly Ballroom came out for full effect, but it was not to be. So here’s the original clip with JPY and much hair.

Enjoy, and Happy Valentine’s Day!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNC0kIzM1Fo]

Sometimes the best things come in the simplest packages. I must admit, the rather amateurish cover of Bec Plath’s EP Unrequited didn’t grab me when it arrived on my desk. But then I put it in my stereo, and instantly I was hooked.

Just like the cover, this music isn’t polished by a studio, which is exactly why it’s so compelling. As an independent artist, Bec Plath can express herself freely, wearing her heart on her sleeve and writing songs that are intensely raw. The result is an eclectic mix, and one that leaves me wanting more.

“Polka Dots” has a playful jazz piano feel which calls to mind Regina Spektor or Tori Amos. The title track which follows is much angrier, a big tune that wouldn’t sound out of place on Pat Benatar or Heart album. Those influences are there, but it never sounds like Bec is trying to be anyone else. Instead she easily inhabits the space vacated by strong female singers that came before.

Unrequited hit me in a deeply personal way. It’s that sort of rare CD which you don’t just happily sing along to, you feel. Bec Plath has a very beautiful gift, and I’m thrilled she shared it with me.

Image source: iTunes

Sydney rockers Torch Le Monde have announced a mini-tour to support their new single “You.”

The band describes the track as “a heavy rock beast,” which tells the story of a forsaken relationship from the side of a wronged lover.

“It’s about when a lover is unhappy in a relationship and feels their love is not reciprocated,” explained drummer, Jordan McDonald. “It’s quite personal as the song was inspired by the effects of spending months touring, away from our loved ones. Musically, it is one of our most catchy tracks to date, and live – it’s absolutely killer”!

“You” comes from Torch Le Monde’s long-awaited debut album, which is scheduled for release in late 2010. The tour will take in just four cities next month.

“You’ll get all the stuff you would expect from an awesome rock show – the riffs, the rhythms the soaring vocals and the punishing guitar solos,” said Jordan. “We push ourselves to the limit everytime we play live, because that’s what our fans have come to expect from us”.

It sounds like these are shows well worth seeing!

12 March 2010 – Live At The Wall, Parramatta
13 March 2010 – Newcastle Leagues Club
19 March 2010 – The Globe, Brisbane
20 March 2010 – Miami Shark Bar, Gold Coast

Image used with permission from AAA Entertainment

Central Coast acoustic pop-rock outfit Jaywalker are kicking off their East Coast tour with a home gig tonight.

The band will play capital cities and regional centers in support of their new debut album The Light and Shade. It’s set to drop on February 19, and it’s already been earmarked for Sanity’s Breaking New Artists promotion. This follows the band winning the Newcastle Music Award for best male vocal last year.

You can check out the band and decide for yourself whether they’re worth the hype at the following shows.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yltqGF4Ltnk]

11 February 2010 – Lizotte’s Central Coast, Kincumber
12 February 2010 – Northern Star Hotel, Hamilton
13 February 2010 – The Vanguard, Newtown
18 February 2010 – Bon Amici Cafe, Toowoomba
19 February 2010 – X & Y Bar, Brisbane
20 February 2010 – Shark bar @ Miami Tavern, Miami
21 February 2010 – The Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
25 February 2010 – Oxford Tavern, Wollongong
26 February 2010 – Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba
28 February 2010 – Brass Monkey, Cronulla
4 March 2010 – Front Gallery and Café, Lyneham
5 March 2010 – Albion Hotel, Albury
6 March 2010 – Retreat Hotel, Melbourne
7 March 2010 – National Hotel, Geelong
12 March 2010 – Port City Bowling Club, Port Macquarie
13 March 2010 – Pacific Hotel, Yamba
14 March 2010 – Laurieton Hotel, Laurieton

The Killers have cancelled several upcoming Australian shows due to the illness of a close relative of one band member, believed to be the mother of Brandon Flowers.

The band will not play at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre tomorrow night, or the Good Vibrations Festivals in Sydney and Perth this weekend. At this point they still intend to play Good Vibrations in the Gold Coast and Melbourne next weekend.

It’s not looking good for the festival, who also had the UK’s Friendly Fires pull out this morning. I predict there’s going to be a lot of disappointed punters.

In a statement, the band also said they would “like to take this opportunity to assure their fans that any concerns about the future of the band are unfounded. They are all looking forward to some time off at the end of this tour as they have been on the road for a long time, but there are no plans for an indefinite hiatus.”

I suppose that’s some consolation for fans.

At any rate, refunds will be issued for the Enmore Theatre show. If you bought your tickets using a credit card, this will happen automatically. Otherwise, you’ll need to present photo ID to your point of purchase to get the cash back.

Image source: ZUMA Press

Them Crooked Vultures rock so hard that they blew two speakers during one of their recent Aussie shows. The band could have just tossed them, but in the wake of the Haiti earthquake the band decided to auction these speakers and a bunch of other awesome memorabilia to benefit the Australian Red Cross’ relief effort.

Fans can bid on one of two Them Crooked Vultures packs, each containing a blown speaker signed by the band, Dave Grohl’s used and autographed drumsticks, an Aussie tour poster and shirt, an official stubby holder, an embroidered tour patch, a working pass from the tour, a set list from the show, and a letter of authenticity signed by the band’s tour manager. Pretty cool huh?

You’ve got until February 13 to get your bids in, so step on it. I’ll warn you though, they’re not going cheap. As I write bids on both the first and second pack are up to $4050. At least it’s all for a good cause!

Image source: ZUMA Press

Local blues outfit Chasin The Train was formed when rock outfit Moving Pictures were on hiatus in the mid 1980s. They lasted more than a decade before parting ways in the late 1990s. The band played their first reunion show in 2005, and now five years later they’re set to do it all again.

The original line-up of Kevin Bennett, Kirk Lorange, Ian Lees, and Mark Meyer will play two special shows at the Bridge Hotel in Rozelle on March 12 and 13.

“Kirk and I have a thing that just works – he does the hard stuff and I do the easy stuff and when it comes together along with the best rhythm section around in Mark and Ian, there’s a complete ‘other’ thing created and we turn into ‘The Train’ – a very special sum of 4 distinct parts and I miss everything about these guys, so I’m really excited about seeing and hearing what happens on stage,” explained Kevin Bennett.

Chasin The Train will be supported by Abbie Cardwell & Her Leading Men. Tickets for these rare shows are on sale now from the venue.

Image used with permission from Thrillhill Entertainment