Monthly Archives: September 2009

Graveyard Train at the Gem

graveyard train

As rain tumbled from the Melbourne sky we pushed open the doors to the Gem and were enveloped in golden light. The dreary weather hadn’t deterred the scraggly group of locals, young and old, assembled in the small front room. Memorabilia, photos and chalkboard menus covered the timber walls and the smell of beer greeted us as we ventured inside. Continue reading


Fame: No Pain, No Gain

Three expressionless faces were looking at me from the table at the front of the room. In the giant mirror behind them, I thought I could see myself shaking as my clammy hands proffered the CD I’d been clutching. Self-consciously I flattened the hastily written number sticking to the stomach of my leotard. For years I had a casual relationship with dance. But this audition was the beginning of a passionate affair. Continue reading

Ode To Ellie


Are you familiar with the song River Deep, Mountain High? Perhaps you know the Beach Boys and their song And Then I Kissed Her or The Ronettes version of Be My Baby from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Or it could be the classic girl group song Leader Of The Pack, again The Ronettes. If you have a best of the 50s or 60s compilation CD, chances are you know Ellie Greenwich.

An American pop composer and producer, Greenwich was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 1991 with her one time husband and music collaborator Jeff Barry. Greenwich discovered Neil Diamond and published much of his early music and in 2004, Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest rock songs included six Greenwich-Barry compositions. Last year I saw a stage production of the story of her life. Sadly, she died on August 26 at the age of 69.

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis Keep It In The Family

Kitty (16), Daisy (21) and Lewis (19) Durham are three siblings from London who don’t look like your average teens. Dressed in rockabilly vintage, the multiinstrumentalists treat us to thigh slapping country bluesish rock ‘n’ roll. Continuing the vintage theme, Lewis built a recording studio at the family home and kitted it out with 1940’s and 50’s recording equipment, pictured in the Going Up The Country film clip, which at times gives me a distict Andrews Sisters vibe. They don’t use any computers or digital equipment during the recording process.

The trio’s following is steadily growing, possibly aided by supporting Coldplay on their American Viva La Vida tour. The siblings also played Galstonbury music festival in 2007 and 2008. When they play live, it is often a family affair with their parents joining them on stage playing guitar and double bass for a rollicking performance (as captured on YouTube). The Durhams will be venturing to Melbourne to play at The Corner Hotel on 11th December, and Meredith Music Festival the same weekend.

PS. Look out for the smashing harmonica solo that appears in most of their songs.

(500) Days Of Summer

500 days of summer

Any film with The Smiths in its soundtrack has to be good, it’s a metaphysical law. When I saw the trailer for (500) Days Of Summer and learnt that the main characters meet when listening to There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – one of my favourite Smiths songs – I knew this was a movie for me. Continue reading

Muse’s The Resistance is difficult to resist.

To be honest, it wasn’t really until Australia day 2008 that I took much notice of Muse. Before that, my appreciation of their music was luke warm. When their epic Knights Of Cydonia pipped King’s Of Leon’s On Call at the post of Triple J’s Hottest 100 that year, I was outraged. Where the hell had all these Muse fans come from? Continue reading

Sarah Blasko at The Abbotsford Convent


Once Whitley left the stage, Australian ARIA-award winning singer-songwriter Sarah Blasko emerged with her band. Her unique, husky voice rang through the hall and although the crowd was politely quiet now, unfortunately they still weren’t particularly receptive. As many of them were there as part of a Nova radio competition, I think a lot of them weren’t very familiar with her work. After her second song, Bird On A Wire, driven by a classic swing rhythm section with violins, an electric double bass and a keyboard filling the sound out, she remarked in her soft speaking voice that the crowd were “very quiet tonight”. Continue reading