Music Spin Doctor and album reviews
IT has been quite a week in festival world. As hinted at by promoter AJ Maddah last week, his touring Harvest Festival in November has been canned because of poor ticket sales, particularly the Brisbane leg of the event, which apparently had sold only about 18 per cent of its capacity when he pulled the plug this week. The news has been given a peculiar twist by the announcement that Maddah has bought into the festival he cited as being partly responsible for Harvest’s demise, the Big Day Out. After much speculation that the Harvest boss had bought out the BDO original co-promoter Ken West, it transpired that both men will form a partnership with the American company that has been involved in running the BDO in recent years, the Austin-based C3 group. Maddah suggested this week that he would be trying to get some of Harvest’s headline acts, including Franz Ferdinand, Massive Attack and others, to do shows in Australia to replace their scheduled festival performances. WHILE we’re on the topic of struggling festivals, Peter Noble’s noble attempt to create a regular fixture on the indigenous culture calendar, the Boomerang Festival, to be held at his bluesfest site just outside of Byron Bay during the October holiday weekend, has had extremely poor ticket sales but seems likely to go ahead (as we went to press anyway). To try to bolster the music line-up that includes Gurrumul, Archie Roach and Thelma Plum, to name only three, the organisers have drafted in John ‘‘True Blue’’ Williamson and his regular collaborator Warren H. Williams. Both men will perform at the festival on Sunday, October 6. CONGRATULATIONS to the Big Sound music industry conference and showcase that took place in Brisbane last week. The three-day event has grown to become the go-to event of its kind in Australia and this year provided a wealth of local and overseas talent who got to strut their stuff in front of music industry types from across the world. It was great to see Billy Bragg playing in a laneway to no more than 100 people, for one thing. Rockhampton duo Busby Marou were on the same bill at that venue, one of a dozen scattered across the city centre that hosted performances. Tom Busby thanked the Bard of Barking for being their support act, since they followed him on to the makeshift stage. We hear he responded with ‘‘any time’’. Another highlight was hearing Megan Washington, who has spent most of this year in London working on her new album, performing some of that material at Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge. Her feisty performance, which saw her emerge from her usual position behind a keyboard, bodes well for the upcoming album release. A mention also for riveting Big Sound sets from the John Steel Singers, Harry Hookey and the large punky country ensemble Little Bastard. ONE performer who didn’t make it to Big Sound was country singer and fiddle player Ashleigh Dallas, who was scheduled to preview songs from her debut album Dancing with a Ghost. The Tamworth singer had to cancel because of illness. WE hear there could be a few more shows added to the upcoming Leonard Cohen tour, which begins in Perth on November 13. The veteran Canadian singer and songwriter turns 79 today. Liam Gallagher from Oasis and Beady Eye turns 41.
Franz Ferdinand was to play at Harvest