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Mike blinded by the light.(Newman)
gig report
Sun. 26. 6.16 Spectrum at the St Andrews pub
An edgy day at St Andrews
28.6.16 -
I'm speaking entirely for myself re' the edgy thing. Firstly I managed to leave home fifteen minutes late, which meant a perfect set-up was mandatory, not just desirable. As a result we started ten minutes late and I had to suffer an un-gelled light shining in my eyes for the entire first set (pic) - not to mention the unwanted reverb on my vocals. Sigh!
It should've been a homecoming of sorts. A good-sized crowd was on hand, including our friends the Scallops, (whom I didn't get to speak to at all), the Drs' Sellers and my son Chris, who came up with a party from Vermont St and who was thrilled to busting just to be there. Amongst many others, of course.
I ended up amalgamating the second and third sets and I'm betting we weren't the only ones relieved when we finally ground to a halt.

1) Lee Bradshaw, ol' codger, Aaron Schembri 2) Mike with signed Epiphone guitar
A busy day for Mike
23.6.16 -
First I had to buy a new B harp before rocking back up to the Burwood Sound Studios for the session with Aaron Schembri and putting down vocals and harp on Aaron's song, A Man's Gotta Do.. (I've heard that title somewhere before..)
Then Maria and I headed down to the Myeloma Foundation to sign yet another guitar for the trivia night this coming Saturday night.

Lost Ragas - Shane, me, Simon, Roger and Matt
I'll Be Gone gets another treatment
21.6.16 - I arrived at the studio on time and knocked, but I had to actually ring the studio to gain entry. I was surprised to be greeted by Simon Burke, whom Bill and I played with at Jeff's Shed eons ago, at which time he was playing keyboards. He's playing drums (!) with Matt Walker's Lost Ragas, along with Roger Bergodaz, bass (and studio engineer), Shane Reilly, pedal steel, and of course Matt Walker on guitar and vocals.
They played me their version of IBG and I was very impressed. The pedal steel gives it a slightly country feel, but the arrangement opens out at the end with a key change and harmonies that reminded me of Traffic. Anyway, I think you'll like their version as much as I do.
Noonamah, oh Noonamah!

1) Matt Taylor tells a tall tale 2) The Marky Greig and Stu Woods' partnership continues to endure 3) Wilbur Wilde
gig report
Sat. 11 6.16 Spectrum at the Noonamah Blues Festival
A funny thing happened on the way to the airport..
14.6.16 -
It wasn't that funny really - well, not at the time anyway. Robbo was a little late, but we managed to leave Mt Waverley at about 5.10 for our Virgin flight scheduled to take-off at 7.55 for the inaugural Noonamah Blues Festival, about forty minutes out of Darwin in the NT. An hour and a half later we'd just hit the Domain Tunnel and the mood was getting quite tense, but when we got onto the Bolte Bridge the pace quickened and we still gave ourselves an even chance of getting to Tullamarine by 7.15.
It was actually 7.30 - a total journey time of 2hrs and 20 mins for what is usually a 45 min journey- when we finally got to the Virgin counter to be told that we weren't going to be allowed to embark. Our disappointment was palpable (understatement) but we managed to arrange an alternative flight for the following morning, (losing half of our performance fee to cover the cost of three air-tickets in the process) and then book a room for three (with two queen-size beds) in what turned out to be a flea-pit five minutes from the terminal, just so we could be back at the same Virgin counter by 6.00 the next morning.
This time we made it OK and with the hour stop-over in Sydney on the way landed at Darwin airport at about 2.15 (local time) to be picked up by Daryl, (who had actually checked in on time the previous night and flown up with the rest of the crew) and Bullet, our genial driver for the next couple of days. We were driven directly to the site to meet up with The Giants' Stu Woods and the Noonamah Tavern's owner and festival promoter, David 'Spokes' Wheeler before checking in to our cabins at the Humpty Doo Hotel some ten minutes down the road from Noonamah.
We chose to try and rest up rather than catch some of our co-performers in action, but did manage to catch Matt Taylor's performance (pic 1) back at the festival before taking the stage (the back of a truck) for Spectrum's one and only performance as the festival's headline act finishing up the Saturday night's proceedings with a 90 minute set of Spectrum faves and some actual blues tunes. Like everybody else we were using the backline provided, but we managed to make a reasonable fist of it and got a large portion of the crowd to come to the front of the stage to dance and otherwise enjoy the music.
The next day the chaps wandered over to the Humpty Doo pub and jammed with Peter Leslie and the Castaways while I pottered around back at the festival site and finally made a guest appearance on a harp I borrowed from Stu Woods during Wilbur Wilde's set with The Giants to round off the festival.
All there was to do now was to hang around Humpty Doo most of Monday till being picked up by Bullet in a bigger bus plus trailer from Humpty Doo with the rest of the crew and taken to Darwin airport where I managed to have a meaningful conversation with Wilbur before we finally embarked on our Virgin flight home to a less than tropical welcome at Tullamarine.
I think the inaugural Noonamah Blues Festival was a modest success and I'm sure it could have a future if they can find the will to persevere. Stuart Woods is to be commended for his persistent belief in Spectrum and his willingness to employ us in his off-the-wall capers. Despite our disastrous start the band enjoyed the novelty of playing in the NT for the first time and would hope we get the chance to visit again. Special thanks to Bullet and Spokes and anybody else with an odd nick-name I might've forgotten.

Mike and the JamMan wonder who's kissing her now
gig report
Wed. 8.6.16 Mike solo at the Lomond Hotel
Jam and jitters at Lomond Acoustica
9.6.16 -
Rodney Claringbould's Wednesday acoustic sessions have moved from the Clifton Hill pub to the Lomond Hotel after many, many years and I think the move has been a positive one. The atmosphere is definitely warmer and friendlier at the Lomond and the sound is less fragile too.
I'm not sure what it is, but I inevitably get jittery at these nights and the change in venue made no difference. After I'd stumbled through my contribution, I hurriedly packed up my few things and Maria drove me home for a consolation cuppa with toast and sour-cherry jam.

Spectrum / Ariel rips through a magical mystery tour of songs (Deb)
gig report
sun. 5.6.16 1st BASE + Spectrum/Ariel + Glyn Mason at the Caravan Music Club re-Visionary show
A splendid arvo at the Caravan Club
6.6.16 -
Sunday was a miserable day weather-wise, but who cares? We were all safely inside at the Caravan Club and all the tables and chairs were sold and there was standing room only. 1st BASE was up first and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of playing with my heroes, George Butrumlis and Jeremy Alsop, even if it was for only thirty minutes.
Then the band plus Glyn Mason romped through two sets encompassing forgotten and never-played songs from who knows when,
as well as a fistful of faves, of course. But it took quite a bit of work to get the band up to speed with songs like Play a Song That I Know, Drifting, Rock Critic, Real Meanie and Glyn's Redwing and I'll Not Fade Away demanding a deal of concentration from every member of the band.
My thanks to 1st BASE's George and Jeremy and to the Spectrum band members including our special guest Glyn Mason for stepping outside their comfort zones and putting in the rehearsal time. Thanks to Pete Dacy for providing the handiest of rehearsal spaces at Secret Sound and to Laneway Records' Vincent Donato and the Caravan Club's Peter Foley for suggesting the gig in the first place and organising the nuts and bolts.
But mostly, thanks to you for being there and helping make the re-Visionary concert (that's what we used to call 'em) the notable success it was.

Geoff from Doppler frantically fiddles with the Leslie
gig report
Thurs. 2.6..16 Spectrum + Glyn Mason at te 303 Bar Northcote
Off-Broadway gig does the job
3.6.16 -
It's a bit unfair to characterise the Hammond night at the 303 Bar in Northcote as an off-Broadway gig, but that's exactly what it was. The Caravan Club on Sunday is our Broadway gig in this case and we've had precious little time to do any more than get the songs learnt with no time to develop a 'group groove'. I was actually quite thrilled when we started, but my voice quickly succumbed to the garbage that's been coming up from my lungs for the last week.
That being said It was an OK night, but we'll need to sprinkle some fairy dust on Sunday to provide the necessary magic.
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