HELLO, IT’S US

A vast ar­ray of tal­ent will adorn Aus­tralian stages in the sum­mer months, writes Iain Shed­den

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

There aren’t many artists in the his­tory of pop who have made their Aus­tralian stage de­but in sta­di­ums — but then, not ev­ery­one is Adele. The English star ended months of spec­u­la­tion re­cently by an­nounc­ing that she would bring her world tour down un­der in Fe­bru­ary and March. Since then Adele has sold close to 500,000 tick­ets for her per­for­mances in Aus­tralia, which be­gin at Perth’s Do­main Sta­dium on Fe­bru­ary 28.

It’s a tour that will un­doubt­edly be one of the high­lights of 2017, but there’s a broad cross-sec­tion of tal­ent per­form­ing in Aus­tralia over the sum­mer, surely some­thing for ev­ery­one and a rich feast for those with eclec­tic tastes.

The fes­ti­val sea­son is well un­der way and there is plenty of mu­sic of all gen­res on of­fer over Christ­mas, the new year and be­yond.

The tour­ing Falls and Laneway fes­ti­vals are two of the big­gest at­trac­tions of the sum­mer months, with a wealth of emerg­ing and estab­lished tal­ent from here and over­seas on of­fer. Falls (Mar­ion Bay, Tas­ma­nia; Lorne, Vic­to­ria; and By­ron Bay, NSW) is burst­ing with buzz names, among them Child­ish Gam­bino, Lon­don Gram­mar, Ball Park Mu­sic, You Am I and Bernard Fan­ning.

Laneway, which be­gins its jaunt around the coun­try in Bris­bane on Jan­uary 26, has lo­cal bands Tame Im­pala and Gang of Youths along­side in­ter­na­tional draw­cards Glass An­i­mals and Car Seat Head­rest.

If folk and roots mu­sic is more your thing you might want to dip into the Wood­ford Fes­ti­val in Queens­land, which runs be­tween De­cem­ber 27 and New Year’s Day. Its rich and var­ied line-up in­cludes queen of dark cabaret Amanda Palmer, the de­light­ful Mel­bourne duo Oh Pep!, hip-hop supremo Urth­boy and Amer­i­can singer-song­writer and reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to these shores Steve Poltz.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds had a No 1 al­bum with this year’s Skele­ton Tree and their Aus­tralian tour next month prom­ises to be an­other high point of 2017. They be­gin in Ho­bart on Jan­uary 13 and will be joined for most of their trip by Aus­tralian ex­per­i­men­tal out­fit the Necks.

Also here at roughly the same time is a singer who has shared a stage and record­ing stu­dio with Cave, PJ Har­vey. The revered English per­former be­gins her tour at Fre­man­tle Arts Cen­tre in Western Aus­tralia on Jan­uary 17.

Arts fes­ti­vals in Syd­ney and Perth boast a strong mu­sic com­po­nent (Cave and Har­vey are part of the Syd­ney one). Syd­ney, which runs from Jan­uary 7 to 29, also has ac­claimed Bos­ton combo Lake Street Dive and lo­cal Amer­i­cana out­fit Half­way in the ranks, as well as an all-star show, 1967: Mu­sic in the Key of Yes, which marks the 50th an­niver­sary of the Aus­tralian ref­er­en­dum on the recog­ni­tion of Abo­rig­ines in the Con­sti­tu­tion. The per­for­mance on Jan­uary 17 fea­tures Abo­rig­i­nal per­form­ers in­clud­ing Dan Sultan, Leah Flana­gan and Thelma Plum.

Perth, Fe­bru­ary 10-March 5, has Ir­ish singer­song­writer James Vin­cent McMor­row, Amer- ica’s Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, and the in­trigu­ing mi­gra­tion song cy­cle pro­duc­tion Flit, star­ring English folk singer Becky Un­thank, Mog­wai’s Do­minic Aitchi­son and singer Adam Holmes, and led by com­poser and ac­cor­dion­ist Martin Green, from the band Lau.

Also in Fe­bru­ary on the wine cir­cuit a cou­ple of 80s stal­warts, Sim­ple Minds and the B-52s, are join­ing forces for a se­ries of A Day on the Green per­for­mances that be­gins in Perth on Fe­bru­ary 2. They also have in­door shows in Mel­bourne and Syd­ney.

My per­sonal picks for the next few months are quite di­verse. At the top end, the re­turn of Bruce Spring­steen to Aus­tralia is ex­cit­ing, a feel­ing some­how en­hanced by read­ing this year’s ex­cel­lent au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Born to Run, in which he gives of him­self as much as he does in a four-hour per­for­mance. He’s here, with the E Street Band, for al­most a month, start­ing in Perth on Jan­uary 22.

The Tam­worth Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Jan­uary gets a mixed press. It’s a genre not to ev­ery­one’s lik­ing, but each year, if you’re pre­pared to seek it out, there is a lot of tal­ent on dis­play, some of it in artists just emerg­ing on to the coun­try and Amer­i­cana mu­sic land­scape. The fes­ti­val goes for 10 days — Jan­uary 20-29 in the case of 2017 — and that’s a bit of a stretch, but you can see a whole lot in three or four days across a lot of venues.

High on my pri­or­ity list will be Aussie song­writ­ers William Crighton and Melody Pool on the same bill, like­wise Sara Storer and Fanny Lumsden, and Bernard Fan­ning and Kasey Cham­bers.

Clock­wise from main pic­ture, Adele, PJ Har­vey, Bruce Spring­steen, Melody Pool and Dan Sultan

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