Newcastle Music Directory

Archive for November, 2008

How To Get A Gig And Promote It

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Music Managers ForumThe Music Managers Forum (MMF) have announced that they will begin to hold forums in the city of Newcastle every three months starting in November. The first forum, titled ‘How To Get A Gig And Promote It‘, will be hosted at the View Factory on Wednesday the 26th of November.

The panel includes the Manager of Cold Chisel, Rod Willis. Other speakers will include Anita Beaumont, leading music journalist with the Newcastle Herald, Me­Shell Croker, Eastern Acoustic Organisation’s (EAO) Booking Agent and Kathi Curran, EAO Agency Manager. The forum is designed for artist managers and self­ managed artists and will be moderated by MMF Vice Chairman, Nathan Brenner, former Manager of Split Enz, Australian Crawl and Men At Work.

The MMF in Newcastle is also looking to start a committee in order to hold future forums.

If you would like to meet up one on one with Nathan Brenner on the 26th or 27th of November to discuss anything relating to your musical career send her an email and she will schedule a meeting for you.

The forum’s entry fee is $10.00 or $5 concession and begins at 7.30pm. There will be $11 Coopers Jugs and $8 Pasta & Pizza from 6pm.

All enquiries relating to the forum should be directed to Shane Thompson on 0408 799 479 or MMF membership application forms will be available on the night or you can apply online at

A Year in the Life of Brien

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Brien McVernan2008 has been a huge year for Brien McVernon. Take a look at this month by month list of his achivements for the year.

January – 2008 started in New Zealand performing at the East Coast Summer Surf Festival with his band The Retro Rockets. The shows were such a hit the band have been invited back to feature in the 2009 festival. The Retro Rockets played to a sell out crowd in Auckland 2 days after the festival shows.

February – The Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club “Thunderwest Bike Show” Brien opened the show with a solo set warming the crowd of over 2000 people up for a huge day and night of music. He was later joined on stage by the other Retro Rockets, Dominic Lindus and Cameron Overend as the highlight band of the night.

March -Brien received an invitation to join 100 musicians, cancer survivors and supporters, to raise money and trek the ancient Inca Trail in Peru to Machu Picchu.

May – Brien and the Retro Rockets return to New Zealand to headline at the Beach Hop Festival. Brien was asked in advance to write a song about a 1959 Catalina Pontiac car, which was to be given away at the festival. This song was recorded and used as the theme song for the 2008 Beach Hop and was featured in all TV, Radio and DVD promotions, thus gaining the Retro Rockets a lot more exposure in New Zealand.

June – The Retro Rockets fly to Queensland to play at the Wintersun Festival. One month before the festival it was announced that the Retro Rockets Saturday night show was the first sell out concert of the festival. This was the Retro Rockets 4th trip to the Wintersun Festival.

July – The release of the 4th studio album by the Retro Rockets. The CD was titled “Catalina” and featured the song from the Beach Hop Festival. It was a collection of songs written by Brien during early 2008. The songs reflected some of his travels throughout 2006 and 2007 as well as some usual themes of cars, girls and rock’n'roll.

August – Brien performs “A Pittance Of Time” at a Vietnam Veterans Memorial service in honour of the soldiers lost at the Battle of Long Tan during the Vietnam War. The Retro Rockets headline the “Rockabilly Meltdown” in Melbourne, to a capacity crowd of Rockers, rev heads and nostalgia enthusiasts.

SeptemberPeru RocksBrien heads off to Japan and the USA to check out the potential markets for the Retro Rockets in 2009.

October – Brien leaves for Peru to take part in Peru Rocks with the Love Hope Strength Foundation. Brien joins musicians from the USA and the UK to trek and perform along the Inca Trail. The musicians were Foundation member Mike Peters (The Alarm), Cy Curnin (The Fixx), Fastball, and Nick Harper. Slim Jim Phantom, (the man who got Brien involved in Peru Rocks) from the Stray Cats was to trek as well, but broke his arm in 4 places at a concert in the UK weeks before the event. Surgery prevented him from the tour. Trekking with the musicians were over 50 cancer survivor and supporters. The whole event was being filmed by the legendary producer of MTV unplugged, Alex Colleti, along with his amazing film crew. Peru Rocks will be featured on MTV and VH1. On the trip Brien performed Catalina solo, which was a huge hit amoung the team as well as the local Peruvians. Brien also impressed the other musicians by sitting in and playing lead guitar with Fastball on day one, unrehearsed, and all the other players from that time on. Brien was also the only rocker to trek the Inca Trail in his Traditional Rock gear, Black Leather Boots, Black Leather Jacket, Black Jeans, Black Tee Shirts and Studded leather belt. As a tribute to the great work Australians do towards supporting cancer patients, Brien wore 2 Canteen bandanas. Brien also raised over $7000 for the foundation, part of which was raised by getting the Love Hope Strength Foundation Logo tattooed on his right arm. The tattoo was donated by Tribal Urge in Newcastle. For more information on the event go to

November – Brien is nominated for an ABC music award in the Jazz category for his song “Gypsy Woman”. The Retro Rockets are also nominated for an ABC music award in the Blues and Roots category for another of Brien’s songs “Hey El Diablo”. Brien signs The Retro Rockets first 2 Albums over to Hardrush music, one of Australia’s top 10 independent labels. The signing should see the Retro Rockets music being distributed all over Australia as well as to Japan and The USA in 2009.

December – The Retro Rockets will be playing at Rocking the Black Dog at Nobby’s Beach, along with Jenny Morris, The Boat People and local performers The Seabellies, Newcastle Chamber Choir, Vaudeville, Fictions, Amy Vee & The Virtues, Mark Wells and Daniel March.

The Retro Rockets will be heading back to New Zealand after Christmas to perform at the Summer surf Festival 2009. They will be playing an outdoor concert on the 30th to an anticipated crowd of thousands. Until then, Brien can be seen playing solo shows and Retro Rockets shows around Newcastle, Sydney and the Hunter Valey.

For more information visit the Retro Rockets website or Brien’s MySpace profile.

Also available is this interview with Brien from ABC Newcastle recorded on the 21st of November 2008.

Winners of the 1233 ABC Newcastle Music Awards ’08

Friday, November 7th, 2008

1233 ABC Newcastle Music Awards 2008Congratulations to all the finalists in this year’s 1233 ABC Newcastle Music Awards. The seventh annual awards night was an outstanding succes. Performers on the night included Jason Lowe, The Seabellies, Catherine Britt, The Humm, Urban Freeflow, Top Button Recordings, Rocwater and Gail Page. The evening culminated with a performance of the Queen classic Bohemion Rhapshody by the University of Newcastle Chamber Choir.

The winners of each category were as follows:

For more information about the 2008 ABC Newcastle Music Awards visit or read the announcement from ABC.

For an archive of entrants from previous years visit

1233 ABC Newcastle Music Awards Night 2008

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

On Thursday 6 November 2008, the splendid surrounds of the Civic Theatre Newcastle will once again house the 1233 ABC Newcastle Music Awards Night. Eight stellar acts from Newcastle and the Central Coast will be travelling from near and far to commandeer the stage and weave a sonic tapestry that will span the musical spectrum. From sweet acoustic folk to the kind of rock this town does best, from hip hop to soul, from roots to a revival of 80′s pop, and from country to choirs as you’ve rarely heard them before, the stage is set to sparkle. Between the performances, there will be butterflies and excitement aplenty as the winners of the category and specialist Awards, the prestigious ABC Music Artist of the Year, the ABC Music Publishing and APRA Songwriter and Composer Recognition Award and the inaugural 1233 Tour Support Prize are announced.

The SeabelliesThe following Acts await you on Thursday 6 November:

It’s been a huge year for The Seabellies – since taking out the trophy for Best Alternative Song and the coveted ABC Artists of the Year in 2007, The Seabellies have recorded and released two singles through ABC Music, becoming one of the most played and requested bands on Triple J in 2008. They’ve been on the bill of festivals big and small all over the country, and will literally be fresh off the plane from some triumphant shows in New York and California, including the renowned CMJ Music Marathon with such acts as Roisin Murphy and Broken Social Scene. It is with great pride and joy for their success that we welcome The Seabellies back home to Newcastle and the Civic stage to open the show.

There aren’t many people who could claim to have Elton John as a fan of their work, but our own Catherine Britt is one of the fortunate few! From making her first album at 16 under the guidance of Bill Chambers to heading to Nashville and writing, recording and touring with some of the biggest names in American Country Music, Catherine Britt has become one of the brightest stars in the country music industry. Dividing her time these days between Newcastle and Nashville Tennessee, we’re very pleased to have managed to catch Catherine on this side of the world and invite her along to the Music Awards night, where she will grace us with a performance as well as presenting an award.

And it’s another ‘welcome home’ for the front man of Newcastle rock band The Humm! From fronting the popular Little Hornet to multi – ABC Music Awards category winners The Humm, Ty Penshorn has been a charismatic part of the Newcastle music scene. This year, Ty spread his solo wings and headed off to the States and the UK, and he’s making a flying visit back to Newcastle before starting a 15 month residency in Dubai in the Arab Emirates. This will be The Humm’s last gig for quite some time, and having their explosive energy and driving rock rhythms firing up the Civic stage will be a fitting farewell and Bon Voyage for them!

The urban poetry of Hip Hop has made a comeback to the Music Awards this year, and taking their finalist entries to the stage will be the crews of Urban Freeflow and Top Button Recordings. Working in, from and around The Loft Youth Venue, both crews have had their fingers in the hottest of the local Hip Hop pies, working with or doing supports for such acts as The Nameless Crew and Blades of Hades. Urban Freeflow have been building a solid live reputation and consolidating themselves as a crew, and Top Button Recordings serves as the umbrella for MCs Madman, Titanic and Damo, who collaborated for this year’s entry into the Music Awards. This will be a high-energy and passionate performance bringing the first half of the evening to a cracking close.

Finishing one’s drink quick smart and heading back into the theatre after Interval will be the priority if you’ve heard of the experience that is Rocwater. If not, you’re in for a real treat. This 5 piece band (on a quiet day) from the Central Coast bring with them an exuberant stage presence, catchy roots tunes and many marvellous music-makers, from mandolins to melodicas. They have been busily touring up and down the East Coast and into Victoria as well as local festivals to support the release of their debut album, which was recorded in a mud brick house on the top of Kincumber Mountain. Their sound is just as organic and free-spirited – with their folk-rock sensibilities mixed with a bit of soul and sounding like summer, Rocwater are sure to have you moving and grooving in your seat!

The image of the troubadour and his guitar, travelling the well worn paths between towns and festivals with the songs and stories of the heart and the wider world is embodied by Jason Lowe. Also just back from adventures overseas, Jason has notched up some impressive tour supports and festival performances for one so young; after shows at the legendary East Coast Blues & Roots Festival this year, Director Peter Noble singled him out as a true highlight and talk of the festival. Closer to home, the lead up to the Music Awards Night sees Jason in much demand at local events; with his finely crafted songs, beautiful and aching melodies and a voice pure with emotion and raw with passion, Jason will be a powerful presence on the Civic stage.

Gail PageShe is regarded as one of the finest blues singers in the country, she has several national awards under her belt, she’s toured extensively with some of Australia’s finest musicians, and these days lives on the Central Coast – she is Gail Page. Gail will be joined for this performance of soul and sound by fellow Coasties and Music Award finalists; award-winning producer Parris Macleod and members of world music ensemble The Reason to Breathe. They are all masters of their own crafts – internationally renowned didgeridoo player Mark Atkins, Tamworth’s ‘Golden Harmonica’ winner Christian Marsh, and ex-Taoyuan Philharmonic Orchestra’s first flute and acclaimed performer Wu Pu-Yu. The grand piano is tuned and ready, and this talented group of people will surely take you on a beautiful journey as the evening moves towards its close.

A Chamber Choir singing rock music? Since the advent of that television series ‘Battle of the Choirs‘, the traditional singing ensemble will never be the same again; and as the winners of that epic event, the University of Newcastle Chamber Choir under the meticulous direction of Philip Matthias are one of the most celebrated choirs in the country. To experience first-hand what happens when a classically trained chamber choir meets the power and pathos of one of the greatest rock anthems of all time, this colossal closing act of the 1233 Newcastle Music Awards is a musical adventure not to be missed!

Pulling all these marvellous threads of colour and sound together and taking you through the evening will be your Hosts; formerly known as Elle McFeast and now a regular feature presenter on ABC Local Radio, Libbi Gorr brings her wit and sparkle to Newcastle and joins forces with the irrepressible 1233 Breakfast presenter Aaron Kearney to be your masters of ceremonies, no doubt weaving some fabulous colours of their own!

1233 ABC Newcastle is proud to present the fruits of another excellent year of local original music, and to continue to provide this platform for recognising, supporting and promoting the many talented and hard working original musicians from Newcastle, the Hunter Region and the Central Coast.

Tickets for this night of Nights are on sale now through Ticketek (fees and charges may apply). Prices are $19.50 for adults, $15 concession and $10 for entrants (with discount voucher). Make sure you get yours – drop by the Civic Theatre Newcastle Box Office or call them on (02) 4929 1977.

Stay tuned to 1233 ABC Newcastle or log on to and click on the Music Awards Icon for the latest updates.

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