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1) Chris Stockley and Michael 'Bridey' Bright play Chris' songs 2) Steve Hoy lays down his brand of swamp music
gig report

Sun.27.11.16 Mike with Broc, Robbo and Keaton at the Laneway Acoustic Sessions St Kilda Bowling Club
From small beginnings..
27.11.16 - Have I got time for this? Well, I dunno. The St Kilda Bowling Club is a promising enough venue. I think Bill was still alive the last time we were there (for the ARCA inaugural get together - a room full of roadies and bugger-all helping us set up, as I recall). But, a comparatively empty room can only be full of promise. On a positive note, the disparate collection of performers from the Laneway Music stable ensured diversity - a bit of cross-generational chatter - and Laneway's Vince Donato claims to have the time and the patience for it to build. Hope I'm around for that.

A big coupla days..

1) The Spectrum-to-Ariel show looking very splendid at Palms at Crown 2) Mike is thankful for his medication*

3 ) Andy Burns with swingin' Ronnie Charles on Saturday 4) Spectrum invites the Saucer crowd to keep on dancing
gig report

Fri. 18.11.16 Spectrum to Ariel on the Brian Cadd and The Bootlleg Family Band show at Palms at Crown
Sat. 19.11.16 Spectrum on The Masters of Rock benefit at The Flying Saucer Club Elsternwick
Weekend of biggies keeps the band on its toes
20.11.16 - The build-up to the Brian Cadd and The Bootleg Family Band show at Palms at Crown on Friday night saw the band, plus former Arielist Glyn Mason, put in some considerable hours of rehearsal over the past couple of weeks. I know we did the Spectrum-to-Ariel thing with Glyn at The Caravan Club, but that was back in June and, although we've subsequently incorporated two or three of the numbers from that show in our regular Spectrum set, we just haven't had enough time for them to become comfortable. I s'pose we could've done the lazy thing and played it safe with our regular set, but in the event I think the rehearsals helped the augmented band's cohesiveness generally.
Everything goes out the window when you wander out onto the enormous Palms at Crown stage to be confronted by a full house of rabid Brian Cadd fans, but I can think of worse scenarios and, anyway, I think that we pulled it off, albeit one number short (I'll Take You High) of the projected ten songs. Although most of the audience only recognised the one song, (the last one of course), they were very polite - after all they were there to pay homage to the one and only Brian Cadd, not to see us.
The band stayed to see Brian and the Bootleggers turn in a great show - Brian even invited me to join him on harp for the last number of the night, which helped fill in the time before we loaded out. It's not often we get the chance to play on such a plush concert stage in front of such a lot of people, so we were happy just to be there. Brian's roadcrew made it as easy as possible for us, and in that regard I'd like to thank Denis Bourke and the crew.
The next evening (Saturday) we had the last spot at The Masters of Rock Myeloma Foundation benefit. Sadly Jim Keays is no longer available to headline and so I was pleasantly surprised to see the room at The Flying Saucer Club (the Elsternwick RSL) jammed to the rafters with happy punters.
It was a mixed grill of raffles, auctions and performances - Ronnie Charles, accompanied by the versatile Andy Burns on piano, (pic 1) was prowling the stage sounding uncannily like Tony Bennett when M and I arrived, to be followed by the comedy duo, The Sharon Molls.
Madder Lake was on next, introducing their new lead singer, Michael O'Laughlin. Michael sounds spookily like Mick Fettes and obviously has an intimate knowledge of the Madders' ouevre - Brenden tells me he's been a fan of the band for years. Michael's accuracy in pitching means the Madders' harmonies are a rediscovered feature. The crowd's response told the story and only time constraints prevented them doing an encore.
After the main auction it was Spectrum's turn. We only had thirty five minutes but I made it a bluesy, accessible set and this time the crowd's demands for an encore were satisfied when we threw in Esmeralda to finish off the night.
Another year, another Myeloma benefit. The Flying Saucer Club proved to be an intimate and suitably atmospheric venue and the crowd - and the acts - went home happy.

* pic courtesy of Christine Mintrom

gig report
Fri. 11.11.16 Champs and the Cool Rockin' Daddies at the Chicken Shop iOcean Grove
Champs and me in Ocean Grove
- I'd learnt my lesson about trying to get somewhere on a Friday night in Melbourne when we missed our flight to Darwin a few months ago, so I left home at a prudent 4.45 to get to Ocean Grove for the Greg Champion and The Cool Rockin' Daddies' gig at The Piping Hot Chicken and Burger Grill - normally referred to simply as The Chicken Shop. It took a frustratingly slow two and a half hours to get there but, despite the minor complication of having the location of the Chicken Shop imprinted in reverese on my mind map, I made it in ample time to set up, socialise and gobble a Chicken Shop burger, (which I had to tell the owner Ben was the best burger I've EVER HAD) before ambling onto the non-existent Chicken Shop stage in front of a packed house.
It was raining on the way home, but nevertheless I made it to Mt Waverley by just after 1.00. I left my phone in the Poodle so, apart from the fuzzy one taken by Anne O'Rourke that appears on FB, there are no pics.

Mike and the gang at the Basement
gig report
Mon. 31.10.16 Lost Ragas at the Northcote Social Club
Thurs. 3.11.16 Lost Ragas at The Basement Discs
Mike with Lost Ragas on the promo trail
4.11.16 - I don't know if playing promo dates with another band actually qualifies as gigs for the gig report, but I'm the editor of this here website, so, today at least, it does. Anyway, they felt like gigs and they sounded like gigs so they're a duck.
With Monday night being a de facto holiday in Victoria (Cup Weekend) there was a decent crowd on hand for the Lost Ragas CD and whatever format launch. I'd already done the radio show so I felt reasonably relaxed about it all, but still turned up for the mandatory, but in all probability useless sound check. The Northcote Social Club has undergone a slight transformation since I was last there with the addition of a carpet, which has improved the previously extremely live acoustics considerably. I got
there pretty early and had a good chat with Gerald McNamara, leaving me still with time to spare before the band took the stage.
I'd not heard an entire set from Lost Ragas before so was interested to suss out where they're coming from - my observations suggest Ry Cooder, Neil Young and perhaps even Calexico for starters. Anyway, I enjoyed it all, despite the mix being a little too democratic for its own good.
Then I was on for I'll Be Gone - then off again until the encore when I returned for Esmeralda. As I was leaving a tall young thing attached to some bloke's arm said she 'loved' my voice, and after considering the vast disparity in our ages added 'Quite surprising really' as I trod on her heel.
The Basement Discs is one of my favourite record stores and gigs and I was looking forward to hearing the Ragas in stripped back mode. They didn't disappoint either, sounding infinitely better than they had in Northcote. Looking at the crowd I figured there might be few Ruddites there that had come along out of morbid curiosity. The elated reaction to my couple of bits pretty much confirmed that impression and I went home feeling that I'd done my best over the last week to help Matt, Shane, Simon and Roger to get their music out to an older, if not wider audience.
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