Fairbridge Festival (photography Ruth Marshall).

Best of Music: Autumn 2015

Last Updated: 25 Mar 2015
Anna Christensen

We danced all summer to high-profile acts and up-and-comers from around the world; this season, we’re loving music from our very own corner.

The Black Keys

The seven-time Grammy-winning rock duo – which penned number-one hits like Lonely Boy and Gold On The Ceiling – will probably go down in history as one of the defining rock bands of our generation. "They're a great band based on bluesy garage rock guitar hooks and mumbling vocals, and are always great live," says Tom Fisher. "But possibly the real clincher is the venue. It's a great place and well worth the trip." Red Hill Auditorium, April 14.
Pick from Tom Fisher, musician and booking agent for Clancy's

WASO ANZAC Commemorative Concert

Programming a commemoration is challenging at the best of times, but when you're eulogising an event that forged Australia's national identity, things get really tricky. WASO's Evan Kennea was faced with this task for the orchestra's ANZAC memorial concert, to honour the centenary of the Gallipoli landing, and took great pains to ensure a sensitive, standout program. "Everyone's response to war is their own," says Evan. "We made space in the program for people to reflect on it." And if you think the ANZAC legend is a tale from the past that is no longer relevant, think again. "The ANZAC legacy was forged in World War I, but it continues right through to today," he says. "So we have Big Band, swing, The Lark Ascending, Abide With Me, Donna Simpson from the Waifs singing And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda – it's very accessible." The program will also see letters from the front read out loud, thanks to the orchestra's partnership with the Army Museum of WA and the RSL. "I hope [the audience] have more of an understanding of this really tragic time, and I hope that pride in what we achieved as a nation will shine through," he says. "Wars are horrible, terrible things, but what individuals and people collectively go through to fight is sometimes quite heroic and amazing." Perth Concert Hall, April 23.
Pick from John Day, Minister for Culture and the Arts

In The Pines

Music Festivals

Autumn's lineups are a little more grown-up and relaxed than summer's offerings.

Fairbridge Festival
Each year, Fairbridge allows us to escape city life and get down and dirty in Pinjarra. Joe Filisko, Eric Noden, Oh Pep! and Odette Mercy are some of the acts on the lineup this year. "I first went as a teen in the 90s..." says Tom Fisher. "I now look forward to taking my young children there. I've played with a band at folk festivals nationally and internationally, and Fairbridge really stacks up."
Fairbridge Village, April 10-12.

In The Pines
This two-stage event will again fill UWA's pine-covered grounds with aural delights. Abbe May, Methyl Ethel, Fait, Aborted Tortoise, The Rainyard and The Wilds will feature on the 20-strong smorgasbord of local goodness. Picnic rugs are encouraged for those getting stuck into the entree acts.
Somerville Auditorium, UWA, April 19.
Picks from Tom Fisher, booking agent and musician

Groovin the Moo'
It's worth the road trip... There's a massive lineup of some of the most exciting names in Australian music, including Hilltop Hoods and The Preatures, with a few imports like A$AP Ferg, Broods and Peaches to give an international flavour. "My friends and I are big Ball Park Music fans – I never miss them when they come to town," says Mark. "I'm also a big fan of San Cisco and Meg Mac."
Bunbury, April 26.
Pick from Dr Mark Jennings, sociology lecturer and popular music expert

The Scientists

The Scientists

Did you know a low-profile 80s band from Perth was pivotal in the grunge evolution? Well, you do now. "The Scientists are cited globally as seminal proponents of grunge," says Hayley-Jane Ayres. "If they didn't exist Nirvana may have never happened. These West Aussie legends are a national treasure. Two sold-out shows last year at Rosemount and The Bakery go to show their relevance 30 years on." They'll perform alongside fellow punk bands the Dubrovniks, The Painkillers and Runaways.
Rosemount Hotel, June 6.
Pick from Hayley-Jane Ayres of Cool Perth Nights

Gipsy Kings

The Gipsy Kings have been making their pop-infused flamenco sound since 1978 – when the BeeGees dominated the charts and whaling was still legal in Australia. So how does the family band, which has sold over 25 million records, manage to say fresh? "Touring is a big part of what we do as a band, playing in many different countries and cultures around the world," lead guitarist and co-producer Tonino Baliardo tells Scoop. ""We have been bringing our sons on tour who have been bringing us new ideas, and we have been using those ideas to go to different places, musically. They will be joining us in Australia, so you will get a chance to see that first hand." Their new album Savor Flamenco – which picked up the gong for Best World Music album at the 2014 Grammys – stays true to the band's signature sound but with a key difference. "This was the first album we produced ourselves," explains Tony. "It was a long process, as we tried to experiment with different ideas – some worked, some didn't, but it is very much our own project and we are really proud of it. I think Perth will get a perfect mixture of new and old, our traditions and what we are trying to do for the future. We will make you dance!"
Perth Convention Centre, April 13.


Best of WA Music

Why hang out for touring acts when the music on our doorstep inspires universal awe? We get Aarom Wilson of WAM, to tell us this season's top local music acts.

1. Wheatbelt Touring Circuit
WAM's Wheatbelt Touring Circuit is off to a flying start, combining WA's leading acts with the region's most beautiful venues. The next free tour sees BOOM! BAP! POW! (whose tune Suit made a recent Diet Coke commercial extremely whistle-worthy!), Pete Byfield, Haydn McGlinn and more. Suddenly a trip to the Wheatbelt is looking like the perfect weekend. Wheatbelt, April 17-19.

2. The Last Toast
Sadly, local favourite The Bakery has announced its closing date on May 9, marking a huge loss for Perth's vibrant music scene. But it'll be a send-off to remember. The Last Toast Bakery Farewell Series will celebrate the venue's diverse 13-year musical history with a specially curated program of international and local acts. At least new Northbridge venue Jimmy's Den will help alleviate the pain. The Bakery, April 29-May 9.

3. Ruby Boots
One of the fieriest talents on Australia's alt-country scene, Ruby Boots has become a favourite among touring recording artists, renowned for her vintage sound and modern-day edge. Her latest single, Middle Of Nowhere – featuring guest vocals from The Waifs' Vikki Thorn – is the first taste of her upcoming album Solitude, to be released on Lost Highway Records, home to Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash (RIP). The Rosemount Hotel, May 15.

Perth International Jazz Festival

At the time of going to print, the program for the Perth International Jazz Festival had yet to be finalised (hey, it's jazz we're talking: improvisation is all part of the game) but director Graham Wood promises it will be worth the wait. If previous festivals are anything to go by – with headliners like Joe Lovano and Katie Noonan – we're confident he's right. "It will provide an exciting program of music from the finest international jazz acts, artists from around Australia, Perth, and right down to our own secondary school students," he says. The vibrant event will go across several stages, including four venues at the Perth Cultural Centre (Museum Stage, Urban Orchard, PICA Stage and State Theatre Centre Courtyard), Forrest Place, and Northbridge Piazza. But the one we're most looking forward to is the dedicated three-stage 'Jazz Quarter' at Brookfield Place. Various venues, May 29-31.
Pick from Paul 'Pax' Andrews, Perth jazz veteran

Lennon Through a Glass Onion

This is a tribute show done right. Forget wigs and costumes, Australian actor and musician John Waters is less concerned with replicating John Lennon than capturing his spirit. No mean feat, but Waters' sensitive portrayal struck a chord with discerning New York audiences – including Yoko Ono. "It truly felt as though Glass Onion had in fact given the city what it needed, to reconcile their own sense of loss of a much loved 'son', as John Lennon came to be," said Waters. "Night after night, our audiences stood to acknowledge us, and it doesn't get much better than that." The New York Times praised Waters' "deeply felt reflection of the man". Regal Theatre, July 17-18.

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