Newcastle Music Directory


Successful Year for Benjalu

BenjaluInspired by a life on the waves and a sleepy little coastal existence, benjalu’s tunes draw influence from many diverse styles, such as early jazz and blues, roots and today’s modern acoustic contemporary musicians. Throughout 2009 they demonstrated why they are one of the Hunter Region’s most successful young bands with a relentless touring and recording schedule that included over 120 performances right up and down the east coast of Australia.

Despite only playing together since March 2006, Benjalu have impressed music aficionados across Australia, winning numerous awards for their original music and their warm live shows. In 2006 the band took out the annual YouthRock awards: they were also named by MUSICOZ as one of the top 10 School bands within Australia: and they took out the prestigious TAFE Newcastle Music Week award for the Open School Section.

Benjalu’s radio–friendly tracks were further honoured at YouthRock awards, when the band were given an additional award by fellow Novocastrians Silverchair, recognising their strong and original song-writing talents.

2008 saw the boys driving the highways and dirt roads of Australia, playing two to four gigs a week, clocking up over 130 shows throughout the year finished up the year with a sold out show at Prince Of Wales Hotel Merewther.

Benjalu has extended their touring reach and kept up the pace in 2009. Throughout the year they supported numerous high profile bands including as The Badloves, Paul Applekamp, Diesel, The Living End, Children Colide, Beccy Cole and Jon Stevens. They received two awards at the 1233 ABC Newcastle Music Awards. They recorded and released their second EP titled ‘Waterfalls’. They performed at the 21st birthday celebrations of the Youth Rock competition and graced the stages of the Peats Ridge Music Festival. In total they performed over 120 shows all across South-Eastern Australia. They finished 2009 in style, supporting The Living End on New Years Eve at Queens Wharf Brewery.

Below is a summary of the band’s achievments throughout 2009. Included for context is a complete list of gigs they played.

Early 2009 – Relentless Touring

Throughout early 2009 Benjalu toured extensively throughout eastern Australia:

  • Friday January 2 – Crescent Head Country Club – Crescent Head
  • Saturday January 3 – Manning Point Bowling Club – NSW
  • Sunday January 4 – Amble Inn – Corindi Beach NSW
  • Tuesday January 6 – Chilli Lounge – Grand Hotel – Wyong NSW – With Bonjah – ($10 On Door Thanks)
  • Thursday January 8 – Sussex Inlet Tavern – South Coast NSW
  • Friday January 9 – Lakeview Hotel Merimbula NSW
  • Saturday January 10 – Railway Hotel – Bunyip Victoria
  • Sunday January 11 – Long Board Surf Cafe – Dromana Victoria
  • Wednesday January 14 – Torquay Hotel – Torquay Victoria
  • Friday January 16 – Gordon Hotel – Portland Victoria
  • Saturday January 17 – The Globe Hotel – Deniliquin NSW
  • Sunday January 18 – Albion Hotel Albury NSW
  • Thursday January 22 – Great Southern Inn – Eden NSW
  • Friday January 23 – Air Raid Tavern – Moruya South Coast NSW (small Door Charge $10) Doors Open At 7pm
  • Saturday January 24 – Hornsby Inn – NSW (across The Road From The Westfield Shopping Centre On The Corner)
  • Sunday January 25 – Prince Of Wales Hotel Merewether & Guest Paul Appelkamp Under 18′s Adult S/vision Upstairs
  • Monday January 26 – Australia Day Festival – Mean Fiddler Hotel – Rouse Hill NSW – Australia Day Festival – Merrylands Oval – Merrylands NSW
  • Friday January 30 – Bangalow Hotel Bangalow NSW
  • Saturday January 31 – Railway Hotel Byron Bay -
  • Thursday February 5 – Sand Bar – Mildura Victoria
  • Friday February 6 – Lake Wallace Hotel – Edenhope Victoria
  • Saturday February 7 – Commerical Hotel – Horsham Victoria
  • Sunday February 8 – Kincraig Hotel – Naracoorte – South Australia ($10 Entry Thankyou)
  • Thursday February 12 – Meningie Hotel – Meningie South Australia
  • Friday February 13 – Louisiana Tavern At Elizabeth South Australia
  • Saturday February 14 – Loxton Hotel -($7 Ticket At Door) Loxton South Australia
  • Sunday February 15 – Cornwall Hotel – Moonta South Australia ($10 Entry Thankyou)
  • Thursday February 19 – Streaky Bay Hotel – Streaky Bay – South Australia
  • Friday February 20 – Commerical Hotel Cowell – South Australia
  • Saturday February 21 – Seabreeze Hotel – Tumby Bay South Australia
  • Sunday February 22 – Coffin Bay Hotel – Coffin Bay South Australia
  • Friday February 27 – Northern Star Hotel Hamilton – Free Entry Supporting Rogerthat.

March 2009 – In The Studio Recording The ‘Waterfalls’ EP

BenjaluThroughout March 2009, Benjalu hit the studio to record their EP Waterfalls. The EP features eight tracks with drums and bass recorded live, giving the CD a more flowing feel.

The tracks vary from funky rock to folk and roots, showcasing both new tracks and songs that have been popular at the band’s live shows. The title track ‘Waterwalls’ presents catchy guitar licks, a thumping rhythm section and an expressive vocal delivery, perfectly relating to the lyrics, which relay the build up of strong emotions and their effect on life. Another of the CDs stand outs, So High, features funky guitar, a catchy chorus and a rockin’ jam out of clarinet and guitars. Other highlights include the CDs’ opener The Lie, Grey Old Man and Benjalu’s oldest song, Java, which was recorded outside at night, capturing nature at its best.

‘Waterwalls’ was produced by Ian Pritchett.

April/May 2009 – Local Touring and Finalising The EP

Benjalu performed a series og gigs relatively close to home throughout April/May 2009 while they finalised the mixing and mastering of their ‘Waterfalls’ EP. The EP was released on May 29 2009 at Queens Wharf Brewery, Newcastle.

  • Friday April 3 – Melodica Concert All Ages Youth Arts Warehouse Gosford
  • Saturday April 4Youth Rock Celebrates 21 Years- Starts 3pm (benjalu At 7pm) Event Finishes 10.30 $15 Door
  • Thursday April 9 – Crescent Head Country Club – NSW Easter Long – Weekend
  • Friday April 10 – Annandale Hotel Sydney With State Radio & Fisherking (door Charge)
  • Saturday April 11 – Laurieton Hotel – Laurieton NSW
  • Sunday April 12 – Lennox Head Tavern NSW – Lennox Head Further Details TBC
  • Wednesday April 22 – Round House Sydney Uni -(unsw – Beer Garden) Outdoors
  • Thursday April 23 – Armidale Club – Armidale ($5 Entry Thankyou)
  • Friday April 24 – Albert Hotel Tamworth
  • Thursday April 30 – The Brass Monkey- At Cronulla Supporting Paul Applekamp $14 Door (duo Acoustic)
  • Friday May 1 – Sussex Inlet Tavern NSW
  • Saturday May 2 – Penrith RSL Club – NSW With The Badloves + More TBC ($20 + Booking Fee)
  • Sunday May 3 – Bateau Bay Hotel (central Coast NSW) – Bateau Bay
  • Friday May 29 – Waterwalls Ep Launch – The Queens Wharf Brewery Newcastle – Nickson Wings At 10pm

June – Lizotte’s Newcastle Grand Opening

On Tuesday June 2, 2009, Benjalu played live at Lizotte’s Newcastle grand opening, sharing the stage with Diesel, Deni Hines, Beccy Cole and Jason Lowe.

Benjalu performed 3 of their songs in front of a packed venue and showed why they’re a band on the rise. Watch a sample of their performance in this video filmed & produced by Total Recall Films.

‘Waterfalls’ Spring Tour

Benjalu toured extensively around regional NSW to promote their Waterfalls EP. From June 2009 the band played 63 dates in a five month period, covering much of NSW and the ACT in the process.

  • Friday June 5 – Albion Hotel – Albury NSW
  • Saturday June 6 – Long Board Surf Cafe Dromana
  • Sunday June 7 – Globe Hotel – Deniliquin NSW
  • Thursday June 11 – The Pub – Bendigo Victoria ( With The Rockstsmiths, The Smoke) $6 On Door Thanks
  • Friday June 12 – Torquay Hotel – Victoria
  • Saturday June 13 – Powerhouse Hotel – Yallourn Victoria ($5 Tix On Door Thankyou)
  • Sunday June 14 – Elwood Lounge (duo Acoustic)- Elwood Victoria
  • Tuesday June 16 – Steyne Hotel – Manly NSW (acoustic 3 Piece Tonight)
  • Wednesday June 17 – Lizottes Live & Cookin At Lambton NSW Door Charge One Jonathon – Jason Lowe
  • Friday June 19 – Sussex Inlet Tavern NSW
  • Saturday June 20 – Northern Star Hamilton NSW Benjalu Full Show As Marty Simpson Unable To Play (free Entry)
  • Thursday June 25 – Belmore Hotel Maitland NSW
  • Wednesday July 8 – Jax Bar – Canadian Hotel At Mt Eliza Victoria ($7 Tix On Door Thanks)
  • Saturday July 11 – Long Board Surf Cafe Dromana Vic
  • Sunday July 12 – Private Function Mt Eliza – Victoria
  • Thursday July 16 – Armidale Club – Armidale NSW – Benjalu Live From 8pm ($5 Tix On Door)
  • Wednesday July 22 – EP Launch Lizottes C/coast $13.50 Supported By Kim Dewar All Ages With Adult
  • Saturday August 8 – The Oxford Tavern – Wollongong With Dimity Claire & The Bleeding Hearts
  • Friday August 14 – Lass O’Gowrie Hotel Wickham – With Vamp, Sketching Coto And Opei
  • Saturday August 15 – Lizotte’s Lambton – Benjalu Acoustic Supporting – Jon Stevens
  • Sunday August 16 – Lizotte’s Lambton – Acoustic Benjalu Supporting Jon Stevens
  • Wednesday August 19 – UTS Glasshouse Bar Broadway Syd (university Of Technology) With Jordan Millar & The Question
  • Saturday August 22 – Bay Hotel/motel – Bonnells Bay NSW
  • Friday August 28 – Armidale Club – Armidale NSW ($5 On Door) Support TBA
  • Saturday August 29 – Lennox Point Hotel – Lennox Head NSW
  • Monday August 31 – Railway Friendly Bar Hotel Byron Bay Acoustic & Relaxed
  • Tuesday September 1 – Railway Friendly Bar – Byron Bay NSW – Acoustic Show
  • Wednesday September 2 – Koala Bar – Noosa Queensland
  • Thursday September 3 – Billy’s Hotel – Gympie Sunshine Coast Queensland
  • Saturday September 5 – Private Corporate Function
  • Wednesday September 9 – Charles Stuart University Campus Wagga Wagga NSW With Solver
  • Friday September 11 – The Area Hotel – Griffith NSW – Acoustic Night With Solver
  • Saturday September 12 – The Area Hotel – Griffith NSW With Solver (lets Party)
  • Thursday September 17 – Sydney Ep Launch At Raval The Macquarie Hotel Surry Hills NSW (acoustic) Supports $12
  • Friday September 18 – Sussex Inlet Tavern – NSW
  • Saturday September 19 – Holy Grail – Kingston At Canberra ACT
  • Sunday September 20 – Perisher Mountain (out Front Of Jax Nightclub) – Smiggins Hotel – Smiggins Hole Near Perisher (staff Function Invite Only)
  • Wednesday September 23 – Albion Hotel Albury NSW
  • Friday September 25 – Romanos Hotel – Wagga Wagga NSW
  • Saturday September 26 – Astor Hotel Motel – Goulburn NSW
  • Sunday September 27 – Old Manly Boatshed – Manly NSW ($5 Entry)
  • Thursday October 1 – Macquarie Hotel + Supports TBA – Port Macquarie NSW
  • Friday October 2 – Sawtell Hotel – Sawtell NSW
  • Saturday October 3 – Armidale Club – Armidale NSW $5 Door + Supports TBA
  • Friday October 9 – Laurierton Hotel – Mid North Coast NSW
  • Saturday October 10 – Crescent Head Country Club NSW
  • Sunday October 11 – Manning Point Bowling Club NSW
  • Thursday October 15 – Coachman Hotel /motel -parks NSW
  • Friday October 16 – Lithgow Hotel – Lithgow NSW Supports To Be Advised.
  • Sunday October 18 – Old Manly Boat Shed – Manly NSW ($5 Tix Thanks)
  • Thursday October 22 – Golden Sheaf Hotel – Double Bay Sydney NSW
  • Friday October 23 – The Tea Club Nowra NSW $10 Tix General Admission
  • Saturday October 24 – The Tea Club Nowra NSW Supporting Justin Carter $10 Tix
  • Sunday October 25 – Bateau Bay Hotel – Bateau Bay NSW (on Stage At 3pm)
  • Thursday October 29 – Home Tavern ( $8 Tix On Door)- Wagga Wagga NSW
  • Friday October 30 – Albion Hotel – Albury NSW
  • Saturday October 31 – Jax Bar – Mt Eliza Victoria Charity Function – Everyone Welcome Come Support
  • Wednesday November 4 – Armidale Club Armidale NSW + Support TBA ($5 Door)
  • Thursday November 5 – Macquarie Hotel Port Maquarie With Juke Baritone And The Swap Dogs & Marisa Mars
  • Friday November 6 – – Town Green Inn – Port Maquarie NSW – Support TBA
  • Saturday November 7 – Albert Hotel- Tamworth NSW
  • Sunday November 8 – Grand Junction Hotel – Maitland NSW
  • Tuesday November 10 – Steyne Hotel – Manly NSW

November 2009 – ABC Newcastle Music Awards

On Thursday November 12 2009 Benjalu were announced as winners of the Blues & Roots category in the 2009 Newcastle Music Awards with their song So High. They also won the Best Young Talent category with their song Grey Old Man.

November/December 2009 – More Touring

  • Friday November 13 – Sawtell Hotel – Sawtell NSW
  • Saturday November 14 – Lock N Load Bistro – West End Brisbane Qld
  • Wednesday November 18 – Koala Bar – Noosa Head Qld
  • Thursday November 19 – Beach Hotel – Byron Bay NSW
  • Friday November 20 – Illawong Hotel – Evans Head NSW
  • Friday November 27 – Marlin Hotel – Ulladulla NSW
  • Saturday November 28 – Bay Hote/motel – Bonnells Bay NSW
  • Sunday November 29 – Old Manly Boatshed – ($5 Tix) Manly NSW
  • Wednesday December 2 – Lizotte’s – ABC Music Awards Showcase – Zoe K & The Money Shot, Mark Wells, Stick Up Kids $23
  • Friday December 11 – Sussex Inlet Tavern – NSW
  • Saturday December 12 – Great Southern Inn Eden – NSW
  • Sunday December 13 – Imperial Hotel – Bombala NSW
  • Friday December 18 – Lizottes Lambton Newcastle Supporting Jon Stevens – Christmas Party
  • Saturday December 19 – Crescent Head Country Club Crescent Head NSW
  • Sunday December 20 – Laurieton Hotel – Laurieton NSW
  • Tuesday December 29 – Peats Ridge Music Festival – NSW On Stage 1.30pm – Performing On " Phoenix Satge"
  • Thursday December 31 – Peats Ridge Music Festival – NSW – On Stage 2pm – Performing On "phoenix Stage"
  • Thursday December 31 – NYE! Queens Wharf Brewery Newcastle With The Living End And Children Colide – $66 +BF

What an amazing year of performances, over 120 in total. Along with several accolades at the ABC Newcastle Music Awards and the successful release of their second EP, 2009 was indeed a huge year for Benjalu, but the band is not resting on their laurels. They plan to continue their gruelling performance schedule throughout 2010 as they continue to promote their Waterfalls EP.

Throughout early January 2010 Benjalu will be playing a series of five events along the north coast of NSW before arriving at the Tamworth Country Music Festival on January 15.

For more information about Benjalu visit their website at

Benjalu’s latest EP ‘Waterfalls’ is available on iTines.

Posted on January 3rd, 2010 in Artists

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Folk Finalists To Perform Debut Gig

After penning a folk song about time travel, Eighty found themselves amongst the finalists of the 1233 ABC Newcastle Music Awards Folk Category. Now this dynamic duo will perform their debut live set as part of the Independent Musos’ Network Christmas Party at The Lass O’Gowrie on Sunday, 13 December.

EightyEighty is the musical collaboration of Torrance Drummond and Alex Bird, who were ecstatic to be included in the finalists of the Folk category along with established local musicians such as Sarah Humphries, Daniel March and Benjalu.

“It was a great surprise to make it to the finals, especially given that many of the other finalists have won ABC awards in the past. For something we recorded in my bedroom, our track Delorean has gone a long way already”, said Bird.

Drummond & Bird began their musical journey together in high school performing together on various projects. From 2007 Eighty have been active participants in the Sydney Eisteddfod Performing Arts Challenge in the singer/songwriter section, receiving highly commended and second place in 2008 and 2009.

The Independent Musos’ Network Christmas party is themed Xmas in a Medieval Court. Local jesters will entertain the King and his court at Christmas time. Such jesters will include The Kings Fool, Zackari Watt, Mark Wells, Nick Saxon, Great Toad & The Chameleon Circus, Paul Addie, Aroldytes Revenge, The Dread Sky and roving performances from The Lovelorn Living Party.

Eighty is a new and exciting face in the Newcastle music scene. Don’t miss this opportunity to see this dynamic duo deliver their chilled, genuine, soulful tunes from 3pm on Sunday, 13 December at The Lass.

  • Who: Eighty
  • What: Debut set
  • When: Sunday, 13 December 2009
  • Where: The Lass O’Gowrie Hotel, 14 Railway Street, Wickham

Posted on December 5th, 2009 in Artists, Events, General

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CentreSection Album Launch

CentreSectionCentreSection, Newcastle based alternative rock outfit, will unleash their second release, full length album Aesthetic, to rockin’ audiences across the nation this Spring/Summer.

Having only been together since 2007, CentreSection have been busy getting their hands dirty within their local rock scene; gracing the stage at Newcastle’s High Voltage Festival, supporting Bright Yellow and generally spreading their own sound to keen audiences across NSW.

Their brand new CD Aesthetic is CentreSection’s first venture into the LP world, seeing the three young men further define their dark, sophisticated and catchy tunes since releasing their EP Latency in 2008.

“The new record was done in only three days, which was a bit crazy”, remarks lead singer and guitarist Robb Ryan, “It is indicative of our sound though, we feel it captures the raw energy that we bring to our live shows”.

Aesthetic, which features 10 solid rock tracks, takes the listener on a roller-coaster of emotions, sounds and relentless honesty. CentreSection’s powerhouse recording effort was engineered with Colin Wright (Grant Walmsley, Polymorphia) and Dan Nash (Sarakula, Sketching Cato) and smashed out at Glebe Studios in Sydney earlier this year.

Aesthetic tunes are varied in style, with something for everyone and a common theme of emotive, thought provoking lyrics, solid drum and bass grooves and screaming guitars.

Definite, sing-along single “Centre Of The Earth” is reflective of early Grinspoon, but with a distinct CentreSection rockin’ touch. “How You Feel” gives an insight into the band’s more reflective side, showcasing lead singer/guitarist Robb Ryan’s strong songwriting skills and unique vocal style.

With their Aesthetic launch tour in the works for October/November this year, CentreSection are ready to leave a permanent footprint in the Australian music industry.

Catch CentreSection at their official Newcastle album launch on November 14th at the Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle West.

Other upcoming gigs in the Newcastle area include:

Posted on November 10th, 2009 in Artists, Events

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Aberhart Releases Album Of Aussie Gold

Daryl Aberhart - Aussie GoldNewcastle-based musician Daryl Aberhart will celebrate his latest album, ‘Aussie Gold Volume 1′ at a launch on November 10 at Lizotte’s Newcastle.

The launch will feature a performance of tracks from the album by an 8-piece all-star band featuring Aberhart on keyboards and vocals accompanied by gifted musicians such as guitarist James Muller and master drummer Nic Cecire.

Over the years, Aberhart, an accomplished vocalist, bass player, composer and arranger, has appreciated many different styles of music from classical to metal, and punk to jazz. His latest release is an ode to legendary Australian acts such as The Church, Men At Work, Died Pretty, Cold Chisel and INXS, whose hit tracks have been given the special “Daz” treatment.

Aberhart has developed his own style throughout his work with pop/rock/folk trio Tribe of New and soul outfit Temple of Groove.

Not only will you have the chance to see these excellent musicians in action on 10 November, you will also have the opportunity to buy half price copies of ‘Aussie Gold Volume 1′, for only $10 a piece!

Daryl & the band will be supported by Gerard Masters & Simon Rudston-Brown.

“I love it…too funky for words.” “Daryl is a truly gifted virtuoso on both piano and voice” – BILLY FIELD

“This is my new second favourite version of Come Said The Boy, and my new second favourite Come Said the Boy guitar solo! GROOVALICIOUS!!” – ERIC MCCUSKER (Mondo Rock)

Tickets are available from the venue and are $15.50 including booking fee.

Bookings are essential. Book online at

  • What: Daryl Aberhart’s CD Launch
  • Where: Lizottes Newcastle, 31 Morehead Street, Lambton
  • When: Tuesday, 10 November
  • Tickets: $15.50 each (including booking fee), bookings essential

Posted on October 20th, 2009 in Artists, Events

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Mark Wells

Mark WellsMark Wells is a talented singer/songwriter from Newcastle, Australia. His emphasis on writing memorable tunes and delivering energetic performances has earned him a swag of awards, radio airplay and a legion of dedicated supporters.

Citing Ryan Adams, Keith Urban and Jackson Browne as major influences, Wells is riding a wave of success after winning the Songwriter’s Prize at the Telstra Road to Tamworth in 2008, which earned him a trip to the US to meet and work with music industry heavyweights as part of his prize.

Mark’s ability to write memorable tunes has made waves in the charts. His song Big Skies co-written with good friend Morgan Evans, reached the ARIA Australian Top 50 and received high rotation on commercial radio.

As a performer, Mark is no stranger to the touring and playing live. He has performed in the legendary bars of Nashville, Tennesee, centre stage at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, and appeared on bills with everyone from Evermore, to Tory Cassar-Daley, The Whitlams to Adam Harvey.

Mark has also been recognized for his vocal talents, and was named as Best Male Vocalist at the 1233 ABC Music Awards.

Wells has just released his debut alt. country EP, “Playing with Fire“, and the release captures Wells in his element. His style is emotionally raw, and his honest storytelling pulls no punches while never forgetting to have a good time in the process.

Video: Mark Wells delivers a rousing performance of ‘When It All Boils Down’, from his new EP ‘Playing With Fire’, live at Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre.


With tour dates being planned all across Australia and New Zealand, Mark is taking his energetic show on the road.

Catch Mark performing around the Newcastle region at one of his upcoming gigs:

Posted on October 14th, 2009 in Artists, Events

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Zero Logic Tearing It Up in October

After a successful release of their debut album Dimenisons in June, Novocastrian Hard Rock trio Zero Logic are setting their sights on success, with a handful of very special shows coming up in the Hunter Region this October.

DimensionsAccording to the band, the Dimenisons album launch shows in June were their “best gigs to date” as a result of over-whelming and, to an extent, surprising amount of support from both all ages & over 18s rock fans.

“Almost every person that has a copy of the album, or sees us play has given us incredible feedback” says guitarist/singer/songwriter Pat James.

“It’s extremely flattering, because we honestly don’t consider ourselves to be anything that special. Zero Logic is simply three fools who love to play music, we stick to that and it seems that where-ever we go, people seem to like what we do, and that rocks!”

The October shows are aimed at exposing the band to industry professionals, as well as potential new fans & to simply have an excuse to play – of course.

On October 3rd, Zero Logic will rock out INDENT at the Loft Youth Venue, alongside fellow local acts; Cota, Light Noise and The Shivering Indies, $10 entry, with bands playing from 4:30pm. This is following a free music industry workshop starting from 12:30pm.

October 4th, will see a musically diverse view added to their raw grunge set at the Mattara Festival on Newcastle Foreshore, from 4pm-5pm. The band will be appearing in support of the Loft Youth Venue’s “Rock Photography Exhibition” at Wallsend Library on October 8th from 6pm. FREE bands, food & amazing photos to impress your senses!

October 23rd, a bus load of fans will travel with the band to the Maitland heat of Global Battle of the Bands at the Hunter Valley Brewery. The same competition which young local talent Powerage previously came 2nd at the finals held in London.

To wrap up the busy month Zero Logic will headline the Halloween Party @ the Loft Youth Venue on October 31st w/ Control Disorder, 69 Rhysons, The Pedantics, The Tenth Plague, Squid Lips & Drown the Armada to support. $10 entry, doors open @ 5pm, come dressed up!

Posted on September 29th, 2009 in Artists

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Holly Kirsten

Holly KirstenUS country singer Holly Kirsten is making a life for herself at Terrigal.

All the way from Arizona, folk rock musician Holly Kirsten, has travelled halfway around the world for love. Kirsten was a rising music star on the US southwest music scene before she fell in love with a Central Coast boy. Upon her arrival, she soon discovered Australia had quite a strong country following and was determined to become a household name.

“I have been singing for as long as I could speak,” Kirsten said. “But it wasn’t always easy,” she said. Kirsten was born with a cleft palate and underwent surgery every year until she was six years old. In grade three, she attended speech therapy and joined the school choir which began her musical journey. She also received assistance from her father who goes by the performance alias of Carl Shepherd. He was a band leader for 40 years and has run Shepherd Entertainment Agency since 1975.

“I remember watching him as a child and him teaching me to never sing the melody to a harmony,” she said. “He always said to try and sing the more difficult notes.”

Kirsten said she played in the mould of Jewel and Alanis Morissette and had produced one live album in the US. At college, she majored in vocal performance and began playing lead roles in several American operas. She later conducted voice training and singing lessons.

“My goal is to play music every day of my life,” she said. While trying to build a future at Terrigal, Kirsten has already created a buzz among Central Coast musicians and fans. Country music legend Bill Chambers, father of Kasey and Nash Chambers, was dumbfounded by her talent and invited Kirsten to be part of his showcase at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Holly will be performing several gigs in the Hunter region before returning to the United States later this month.

Posted on August 3rd, 2009 in Artists, Events

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Mark Wells Alt. Country Album Launch

Mark Wells Enters New Territory With Alt. Country Launch At Lizotte’s Newcastle

Award-winning Novocastrian singer-songwriter Mark Wells will release his debut alt. country CD ‘Playing With Fire’ on Friday, 14 August at Lizotte’s Newcastle.

Mark WellsThe event will feature a live performance by Wells with a full seven-piece band, and will also include special guests such as 2009 Female Artist of the Year Golden Guitar winner Catherine Britt and Golden Guitar nominee Morgan Evans.

A number of Aussie Country luminaries perform with Wells on Playing With Fire, including Britt & the ARIA award-winning Bill Chambers (father of Kasey & founder of Dead Ringer Band).

“I’m really happy with the way the CD sounds,” said Wells. “I was lucky to have so many great musicians play on this record, and I’m twice blessed because most of them are playing at the launch too!”

Wells’ band includes ABC Newcastle Music Awards winners Ngariki and Bob Corbett, as well as local legends Dave Carter, Matt Gaudry & Brian Daly. Rounding out this great lineup is Wells’ good friend, multi-instrumentalist Jason Bone.

Bone also produced the EP for Wells, which saw him tracking a large portion of the songs live in the studios around Newcastle.

The alt. country flavours and textures on this release take Wells in to new songwriting territory, a long way from the pop-rock sounds of his previous work both solo and with Supersonic.

Wells does appear to have a flair for the country sound, having been awarded the prestigious Songwriter’s Prize at the Telstra Road to Tamworth in 2008. As part of his prize, Wells travelled to Nashville, Tennessee to work with US country music’s top songwriters and Universal Music.

“It was a great experience”, said Mark, “and those experiences helped me to find where I wanted to head with my songwriting. This stuff is raw, honest storytelling … but it’s great fun too!”

To hear the results of this Mark’s exciting musical journey, get along to the official release of Playing With Fire at Lizotte’s Newcastle on Friday, 14 August.

Kicking off the evening at 8:30pm will be Wells’ good friend and songstress Caitlin Harnett.

Bookings are essential. Book online at or link through Mark’s website at

  • What: Mark Wells’ Playing With Fire EP Launch
  • Where: Lizotte’s Newcastle, 31 Morehead St, Lambton
  • When: Friday, 14th August 2009, 8:30pm
  • Tickets: $10 each

Posted on July 28th, 2009 in Artists, Events

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Solver Warms Up In Grand Style

solverProud Novocastrian rockers Solver are gearing up for a national tour, the release of a new EP and a new chapter in their musical journey.

Brothers Morgan & Tom Evans and close mate Nick are filled with a new found energy and passion for their music after 2 years away from the band.

“It seriously feels like we’re 14 again! We’ve got new songs, a new live show and a new EP just about ready to roll! We just want to get out an play!!!” said Morgan.

SOLVER have just finished recording 6 tracks with legendary producer Mark Opitz whose credits include ACDC, Kiss, INXS, Cold Chisel, Noiseworks & The Angels

A preview of the first track from the EP, “Too Young To Worry”, is available for streaming at

“Before we get in the van and drive all over the country we really want to reconnect with all the people in Newcastle that have stuck by us for the last 12 years.” Said Morgan.

Solver will play four special shows in The Underground at The Grand Hotel in July to try out some new material and hone their live show. “We’ll be playing new songs & old songs, trying out some new tricks and playing a different set every week!” said Morgan.

Solver will be joined on these 4 special show by good mates and underground party duo The Beatnik DJ’s ensuring that everyone has a good time!

The EP will be called “Too Young To Worry” and will be released in the coming months.

Solver will play The Underground @ the Grand Hotel July 10, 17, 24 & 31.

Posted on July 3rd, 2009 in Artists, Events

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Zero Logic Album Launch

Zero LogicAfter just 2 years rocking out together, Novocastrian grunge/hard rock band Zero Logic are set to release their first independent album “Dimensions” on June 6th this year. The album is a follow up to their well received EP “Cubette” which was released in September 2007.

Pat James (vocals/guitar), Mitch Paterson (drums) & Chris Newman (bass) began playing together as Zero Logic in January 2007 and began working on “Dimensions” in late 2008. They cite various influences such as Incubus, Nirvana, Seether, Tool, & fellow Novocastrian rock-stars Silverchair. Pat describes the album as “a real mixed bag of songs – which made it a fun record to record”.

“Who puts bongos in a hard rock album?” Pat asks, “We did! And it feels good to hear it actually work.”

Zero Logic will be launching the album at 2 separate shows in June!

Sat 6th June – Wesley Hall, Beaumont St Hamilton
All Ages – $12 entry – 4 – 10pm + Free giveaways & signings!

Wed 17th June @ the Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
With special guests Iridium and Shaded Glass
9:30pm, Entry is free, 18+

Go to for more information about the band including music, photos, videos and news.

Posted on May 30th, 2009 in Artists, Events

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