Peak Festival Announces First Round of Artists for 2018

Sahara Beck
Image Courtesy of Sahara Beck

It may be the height of Summer but it’s time to start planning your Winter escapades with the first round of artists announced for the Peak Festival in New South Wales.

So far nine artists have been revealed including Hot Potato Band, Sahara Beck (above), Electrik Lemonade, His Merry Men, Hussy Hicks, Aliensworth, Felicity Lawless, Matiu, Lizzie Flynn & The Reckoning and Pete Denahy. And you know there’s a lot more goodness to come especially as this is the Peak Festival’s 10th anniversary.

Peak Festival is held in Perisher, NSW over the Queens Birthday Long Weekend from the 8th to the 11th June. For more information including how to get your hands on tickets check out the official site here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 29th March

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Melbourne singer-songwriter James Kenyon has announced a string of dates up and down the east coast this April. Details here

Fiddlers Feast released the video for their fantastic track “The Devil Went Down To Tamworth”. Details here

Timber and Steel favourites The Falls scored the support slot for The Lumineers’ sold out shows this weekend. Details here

– Country supergroup The Hillbilly Killers have revealed their first three tracks online. Details here

Darren Cross, one half of Sydney alt-country duo Jep and Dep, has just released his new solo single. Details here

– Details of the 2013 Festival Folk Sing album, Festival Folk Sing Judy Small have been released ahead of this weekend’s National Folk Festival. Details here

– We finally have an official video for the track “Run Boy” from Kaurna Cronin. Details here

The Snowy Mountains of Music have revealed the first artists on their 2013 lineup including Jeff Lang, Mikelangelo and the Tin Star and Mustered Courage. Details here

MoFo in Sydney announced its special April lineup that includes Lucy Wise and the B’Gollies and Mem Davis and the Kindred Spirits. Details here

– Next Saturday sees World Musician Day take over Sydney Park in Sydney’s inner-south with a lineup that includes The Crooked Fiddle Band, Betty & Oswald, The Lunch Mothers and more. Details here

– Regular Sydney night Upstairs and Underground is returning for 2013 with a folk-flavoured lineup. Details here

Communion Melbourne announced a massive lineup for next weekend including Willy Mason, Deap Vally, Jordie Lane and Playwrite. Details here

Interviews

“Ann Vriend (Canada) is a very regular and very welcome visitor to Australia and this week she’s touched down in Sydney to kick off a month of shows that will take her south to Tasmania and north to Queensland — with appropriate stops along the way”Ann Vriend chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

“You could say that singer-songwriters are being opportunistic in that some of our traditional avenues might have even closed down. But then you could say the folk club scene is being opportunistic because they’re getting young, fresh, interesting talent to just revitalise their thing. It’s a happy marriage I think”Brett Winterford chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“Interviewing Andrew Cronshaw is a bit like watching Waragamba Dam in flood. There’s a mighty capacity, but the volume contained therein and the urge for it to surge out means there’s a fair old splashing and cascading over the spillway”Andrew Cronshaw from SANS chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

“They’re just my favourites and I adore their music and I’ll hunt them down at every festival and sing along, and sometimes dance along, and that’s just the way it is and ever shall be, Wheezer World without end, amen. So yeah, I quite like the Wheeze and Suck Band” – Tony Pyzarkowski from The Wheeze and Suck Band chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

“I interviewed Griff at Punchbowl Boys’ High School in Sydney’s south-west earlier this week and we spent a bit of time talking about the benefits to be had from inter-meshing music and education. And by and by we did discuss music, and Grimick’s first foray to the National Folk Festival this weekend” – Chris “Griff” Griffiths from Grimick chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

Blog

“It’s no secret that we’re fans of beards here at Timber & Steel. From Joe Purdy to Ray LaMontagne, William Fitzsimmons to Josh T Pearson and obviously the likes of The Beards, we find beards to be synonymous with folk, blues and roots music. While at Womadelaide this year (which is essentially beard paradise) we took the opportunity to take some photos of some pretty cool beards”Thom Owen Miles and Arcade Photo document the Beards of WOMADelaide. Blog here

“At the beginning of the new year I drove to Melbourne for three days. There were no hot meals and we only stopped to sleep in the closest located motel off the Hume highway. If you’re road tripping this year to a festival, a new city or even just heading home; I recommend pillows, pit stops and a well-considered soundtrack for your journey. Behold – my tried and true top 10”Laurenandmoore gives us her top road trip tunes. Blog here

Reviews

Gigs

“After a couple of years of mud-inducing torrential rain the Blue Mountains Music Festival was this year blessed with un-seasonally warm sunny days and crisp clear nights – a combination that drew some of the biggest crowds I’d ever seen at the festival. The market stalls were humming, the venues were pumping and the atmosphere was electric – and of course the music was spectacular”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews the Blue Mountains Music Festival. Review here

“WOMADelaide has been running for 21 years now and I suppose they’ve essentially perfected it because for as long as I’ve been attending the festival it’s kept the same site layout, precincts, stages and amenities, which definitely contributes to the comfort levels of repeat attendees”Thom Owen Miles reviews WOMADelaide. Review here

“As the throng of spectators pushes to the front, I’m not the only one feeling claustrophobic. There’s dudes with dark armpit patches sharing stories about ex-lovers, a few oldies leaning on the far wall with a modest beer, groups of excited girls wielding handbags and a clear backwards cap to energy drink ratio. I get the impression that most of these people know each other. A crew of friends and family whistles and barks as The Pierce Brothers enter with a traditional, “G’day!””Laurenandmoore reviews The Pierce Brothers at The Evelyn in Melbourne. Review here

“There was so much happening on stage that I struggled to write it all down. One minute the horn section were dancing; then they were jumping; then they abandoned their instruments altogether as the piano had a jazz aneurysm. A few false endings and they finished with flashing lights and wailing. His Merry Men are such a visually engaging band and definitely brought their own house party tonight. I would love to catch these guys again on a bigger stage, with or without the pajamas”Laurenandmoore reviews His Merry Men at The Empress Hotel in Melbourne. Review here

Releases This Week

The Ash and Clay
The Ash & ClayThe Milk Carton Kids
iTunes

Gigs Next Week

Ann Vriend
Saturday 30th March – The Stage, Hobart, Tas
Sunday 31st March – Jazz at Mona, Hobart, Tas
Monday 1st April – private rural house concert, Tas
Tuesday 2nd April – Skwiz Cafe Gallery, Sheffield, Tas
Friday 5th April – The Upfront Club, Maleny, Qld

Ben Howard
Wednesday 3rd April – The Metro, Sydney, NSW
Friday 5th April – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane, QLD

Bluesfest
Friday 29th March to Monday 1st April – Byron Bay, NSW

Bobby Alu
Friday 5th April – Nayri Niara Festival, Bruny Island, TAS

Counting Crows
Saturday 30th March – Hamer Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 3rd April – Perth Concert Hall, Perth, WA

Dropkick Murphys, Frank Turner and Swingin’ Utters
Sunday 31st March – Panthers, Newcastle, NSW
Monday 1st April – Big Top Luna Park, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 2nd April – Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 3rd April – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA

Eli Wolfe
Wednesday 3rd April – The Old Kirk, Yamba, NSW

Jack Carty and Jordan Millar
Saturday 30th March – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Wednesday 3rd April – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 4th April – Cafe Le Monde, Noosa Heads, QLD
Friday 5th April – The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba, QLD

Jake Shimabukuro
Sunday 31st March – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Monday 1st April – Lizottes, Kincumber, NSW
Wednesday 3rd April – Lizottes, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 4th April – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Friday 5th April – The Corner, Melbourne, VIC

Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens
Friday 5th April – Yours & Owls, Wollongong, NSW

Laneway
Sunday 31st March – The End, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 4th April – The Treehouse, Byron Bay, NSW

Luka Bloom
Sunday 31st March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Tuesday 2nd April – Fly By Night Musician’s Club, Fremantle, WA

Michael Kiwanuka
Tuesday 2nd April – St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, QLD

National Folk Festival
Friday 29th March to Monday 1st April – Canberra, ACT

Passenger
Saturday 30th March – Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
Wednesday 3rd April – Conservatorium Theatre, Brisbane, QLD

Patrick James
Friday 29th March – The Front, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 20th March – Barcode, Wollongong, NSW
Wednesday 3rd April – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS

Paul Simon with Rufus Wainwright
Saturday 30th March – Hope Estate, Hunter Valley, NSW
Tuesday 2nd April – Entertainment Centre, Sydney, NSW

Seth Lakeman
Friday 29th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Sunday 31st March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Monday 1st April – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Simone Felice with Jess Ribeiro
Saturday 30th March – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC
Sunday 31st March – Boogie Festival, Tallarook, VIC
Wednesday 3rd April – Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 4th April – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Friday 5th April – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW

Sleepy Dreamers with Brightly, Run Rabbit Run
Thursday 4th April – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

The Hillbilly Killers
Saturday 30th March – Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Sunday 31st March – Boogie Festival, VIC
Thursday 4th April- Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Friday 5th April – The Abbey, Canberra, ACT

The Lumineers
Friday 29th March – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 30th March – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane, QLD

The Starry Field
Friday 29th March – The Clever Duck, Cairns, QLD
Sunday 31st March – The Old Magistrates Courthouse, Townsville, QLD
Wednesday 3rd April – The Beetle Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 5th April – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Tim Guy
Thursday 4th April – Lock n Load Bistro, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 5th April – Sol Bar, Maroochydoore, QLD

Wilco
30th March to 1st April – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“The Japanese Whaling Song” – Martin Pearson with Liz Frencham

In 1999 I volunteered at the National Folk Festival after spending my teenage years ignoring folk music for the most part. The experience was amazing – when I wasn’t working I was absorbing every single artist and experience I could. And I’ve been going back whenever I can, including this year. So I thought I’d give you a little bit of a Folk Festival experience from the wonderful Martin Pearson – a man whose intros are always longer than his songs.

Review: His Merry Men with The Bon Scotts, The Empress Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Photo courtesy of His Merry Men

His Merry Men with The Bon Scotts
The Empress Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23rd March, 2013

Last Saturday night everyone was having a house party. There were backyard bonfires, beers and friendly encounters to be made. But in the midst all of this merriment, I headed over to The Empress Hotel for some late night tunes. Entertaining the patrons of the dark, pub-like venue were two headliners with, in totality, more instruments than band members.

This wasn’t just the final show of the tour. Local folk band, The Bon Scotts, were also farewelling their drummer, Jono. Their heart-felt goodbye featured everything from mandolin and banjo to hand-held harp – and that was just from one band member. Opening with “Lovesong for a Riot,” the band immediately caught my attention, showcasing their creative fusion of traditional folk, unique percussive elements and raspy, Scotland-inspired rock. An accordion and xylophone provided an eclectic music experience for the listener.

As the set continued, their compositions offered variety and energy. The bassist in particular had boundless kilojoules at his disposal, rocking out at the back like he’d just won the lottery. Three songs stood out for me: “The Way Home,” “Polluted Sea,” mainly for the lyric, “throw ourselves unconditionally into love,” and a hilarious but memorable song about dying at the hands of C.G.I. These dudes were sweaty and screaming, which combined with elegantly written lyrics is all I can ask for in a live show. They finished off with a glorious performance of “The Kids are Coming” and I was already liking their Facebook page.

It was almost a logistical nightmare as the 7-piece packed up their gear while a 9-piece simultaneously unpacked theirs. With heads held high, His Merry Men piled on to the stage, decked out in their finest pajamas for the last show of the Pillow Tour. There was a range of sleepwear on show, including everything from boxers and striped leggings to Mr. Men print flannels. Andy introduced the horn section on tenor saxophone before the electric guitar joined in with an explosive riff. The band confronts their audience with a confident blend of musical styles.

The ‘Robin Hood’ of this tale is Megan Crocombe, a force to be reckoned with in her tenacity and robust vocal acrobatics. She’s cheeky, uninhibited and wildly contagious as the male members joined her in “Summer Song,” chanting, “Got no job, got no future, but that’s okay cause we got the summer time.” My personal favourite, “Super Secret Spies,” is almost a tribute to James Bond but added an element of comedy to the show as the horn section struck various secret agent poses. A man sporting a polka dot onesie made eerie theremin-like noises on a launchpad while the singer yelped and howled like a lonely dog.

You can tell just by watching them interact that the members are good friends. They are completely comfortable on the stage and not just because they’re wearing pajamas. Moreover, each individual ‘merry man’ displays exceptional skill on his or her chosen instrument. Kudos goes to the guitarist in particular, who unleashed a tirade of fat and funky guitar riffs, which at different moments throughout the set borrowed from the styles of Jimi Hendrix, Tom Morello and John Mayer. This demonstrated not only his versatility as a musician but also his child-like passion for music that was palpable as he rocked out in socks and crab-print shorts like he was just practicing in his bedroom at three in the morning.

The band also performed “OP,” a sexy downtempo number with a drumbeat that reminded me of Cake’s “Shut the Fuck Up.” The Brisbane cohort also paid tribute to the resignation of Jono the drummer by inviting him on stage for a mellow tune and a bit of a cuddle. After a song involving some Spanish bull-fighting music and a barefoot trumpet solo, Megan thanked the crowd and the ceiling fan, ditching the mic stand for the final song.

There was so much happening on stage that I struggled to write it all down. One minute the horn section were dancing; then they were jumping; then they abandoned their instruments altogether as the piano had a jazz aneurysm. A few false endings and they finished with flashing lights and wailing. His Merry Men are such a visually engaging band and definitely brought their own house party tonight. I would love to catch these guys again on a bigger stage, with or without the pajamas.

Review: The Snowy Mountains of Music Festival, Perisher

Snowy
Photos and Review by Mandy Lamont

It was a mixture of ski boots and sound boards, goggles and guitars, musicians and skiers all converging in the most picturesque of places for great music and entertainment for the 4th Snowy Mountains of Music Festival.

It was the biggest opening weekend to the ski season with thanks to big early snowfalls, fabulous weather and the festival. Set amongst the ski fields of Perisher, Guthega and Smiggins, there was something for every taste in music. A huge mixture of reggae, folk, blues, bluegrass to poetry, plenty of entertainment for the kids and workshops on hand and body percussion, open tune and slide guitar and east european fiddle and accordion.

Opened and closed by A French Butler Called Smith from the Gold Coast singing new songs still to be recorded. Hot off the Byron Bay Blues Fest they had the crowds at Smiggs dancing the house down doing the ‘Tugan Shuffle’ at the finale.

There were fewer venues this year which made getting around even easier. Most venues were a short stroll from the Perisher Centre, or there were shuttle buses to get up the hill to the Sundeck or over to The Smigs Hotel, where most of the headline acts played. A rockin’ Penny and the Mystics got things started on Friday night followed by one man band Claude Hay on guitar, bass, drums and sitar with an amazing bluesy sound. The Hussy Hicks and Marshall Okell with the guys from Chase the Sun got the crowds warmed up for a great weekend of music.

Snow

On a more sombre note, there were tributes to Birdy. Local musician, producer and friend to many in the industry, who passed away earlier this year. And Brendan Gallaher shed a tear during his performance when talking about his friend, the very talented Jimmy Little, who also passed away earlier this year.

Highlights for me were The Dead Quarry Mountain Rats, His Merry Men, Afro Moses, Nicky Bomba, Claude Hay, the first international act for the festival; The Black Seeds and poet and comical man of many hats, Gregory North.

Plenty of foot tappin’, thigh slappin’, and something new to the folk festival scene, ski boot dancing at the Perisher Snowy Mountains of Music this June long weekend! The perfect way to kick off the winter season in the Snowy Mountains.

Snow

More Artists Added to the Perisher Snowy Mountains of Music

Claude Hay
Image Courtesy of Claude Hay

We’re just six weeks out and the Perisher Snowy Mountains of Music are still adding artists to their lineup. Along with headliners The Black Seeds (who were added a few weeks back) the Snowy Mountains of Music have announced Afro Moses, Marshall Okell, Claude Hay (above), His Merry Men, The Rhythm Hunters and recent Timber and Steel interviewee Daniel Champagne. These new additions join an already jam packed lineup that boasts The Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, Frencham Smith, Cj Shaw and the Blow Ins, Mal Webb and many many more.

The Perisher Snowy Mountains of Music takes place over the June long weekend (8th to the 11th June). As far as we understand it there’s still some tickets left – check out the official web site for more details.

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