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Not a gig report / 18.12.17 Mike and Jeff Duff hit the tiles

1) The room filled up really quickly with pop glitterati 2) Billy Miller and Rebecca Barnard were inadvertently hung out to dry but were very brave 3) Dunks' ghostly bass
The Australian Music Vault launch
19.7.17 -
As we roll inexorably towards Chrissy and the only gigs to look forward to are in what we laughably refer to as the New Year, I for one welcome the odd distraction. Laneway Music's Vincent Donato requested the pleasure of my company at the launch of the Australian Music Vault held last night at the Arts Centre - which is weird 'cause I thought we'd already done that about twelve months ago. Anyway I rolled up to Vicncent's marvellous Malvern mansion at the appointed time to see Vince's fellow Laneway honcho Dan Bradley conspicuously trying to break in through the side gate.
I decided to take the long way round but was intercepted and firmly redirected to the kitchen where the ageless Jeff Duff was reclining in a fetching woollen jumper chatting to Dan (it was damned hot outside too) which prompted me to observe that he looked unnecessarily elegant. He looked puzzled and explained he hadn't changed yet. I'd not met Jeff before, but after he'd demanded the cricket be put on the telly learned that he plays grade cricket in Sydney's northern suburbs in which competition he is the top performing bowler. He's a quietly spoken, lovely fellow
I adjourned to Vincent's studio and after I'd listened to bits of the desk recording of the Spectrum plus gig last Sunday we all got into Dan's limo (with Jeff now dressed in a spectacular skin tight off-white suit with matching cream socks in platform sandals) and headed at a racy 40kph down High St to the NGV where we parked and meandered to the Arts Centre to find a lift to take us to the fabled sixth floor
The doors re-opened and we were still on the ground floor with Dave Graney and Clare Moore, Ian McFarlane et al looking almost as bemused as we were shame-faced. We eventually made it to the eighth floor where a crowd of glitterati of various ages was amassing to storm the whatever room it was that I thought the Music Vault had already been launched the previous year - once we were all equipped with the inevitable lanyards by the boys and girls with the clipboards of course.
I'd already decided that the level of noise made it unlikely I'd understand a word all night, but I nevertheless got involved in conversation with Clare Moore and her young photographer friend (from Adelaide, not Ella) interrupted by the arrival of Craig Horne, who has apparently forgiven me for recommending the Hornets play Warburton's The Who Club, as well as Mark Holden, who'd brought his daughter Katie along, plus a surprise meeting with Rose Bygraves and Helen Jedwob thrown in for variation.
The official part of the evening comprised of speeches by the Vault's CEO Claire Spencer who introduced Martin Foley representing the Victorian Government who introduced a new patron in Tina Arena ('she's tiny' giggled the two girls in front of me in unison) who made a rousing speech that was greeted with whoops of acclaim from the junior members of the audience. Gudders (Mushroom boss Michael Gudinski), who clearly doesn't know how to use a microphone after all his years in the music business, made a partially audible speech that might've been followed (I may have the order wrong) by fellow Vault conspirator Molly, who was decanted from his wheelchair to gamely walk across the stage to the mic with the aid of a walking stick and support from anybody handy. He did manage to gasp out a couple of amusing anecdotes about Prince Charles and Princess Diana but I felt his appearance evoked more sympathy from the gathering than the usual uncomprehending amusement.
Claire Spencer then declared the official part of the evening was over and now was the time for people to head for the bar - which is what they instantly proceeded to do and at great volume, which made it hard for Claire a few minutes later to try and regain the audience's attention and welcome Billy Miller and Rebecca Barnard to the stage for a set of their singalong faves.
I accidentally stumbled into the VIP section trying to take a pic of Billy and Bec and it felt like I'd stumbled onto a a ghost train ride with spectral faces of locally celebrated power brokers staring blankly into the wobbling bums of the room full of thrill seekers.
I retired to the foyer to stare at my phone in case somebody else came along that I was supposed to recognise - and there he was again, Craig Horne, this time introducing me to his wife Karen and asking if I was going to visit the exhibition downstairs. (I said I wasn't but did and naturally ran into him again). Then it was Molly's turn to be wheeled past me giving me a regal wave à la Princess Di herself when I ridiculously enquired how he was going.
There was discussion on the way home what it was all about and didn't ACMI more or less cover the same turf anyway? I still don't know, but I do know that nobody from either organisation has asked me for any of my Spectrum memorabilia.
gig report / 10.12.17 Spectrum plus Madder Lake's Brenden Mason at the Satellite Lounge

Spectrum plus Brenden Mason help Mike negotiate some tricky curves in the Spectrum/Ariel rep'
A worthy experiment - but is it Art?
17.12.17 -
Has there been more earnest attention to detail and hours in rehsarsal mode than for this solitary gig? Not that I can recall - bearing in mind that my recall is severely impaired these days. The rehearsals were actually fun as well as constructive, but chaps of our collective age should be spared such an imposition.
However, the loyal chaps did not demur and turned up at excruciatingly late hours to breathe the same mouldy air and crack weak jokes over even weaker cups of tea at the mutually inconvenient rehearsal studios.
Newby Brenden was enthusiastic at all stages and seemingly unfazed by the gigantic workload. It sounded pretty impressive on stage - we should all hope there's more.
gig report / 7.12.17 Mick'n'Broc at The Basement Discs for the 12 Days of Christmas

Broc & Mike worry about the parking fee they're up for
Mick'n'Broc walk the walk and pay the price
8.12.17 - Broc and I were trying to work out where on earth we were going to park in the CBD and not get slugged a zillion while we rattled off a few tunes at The Basement Discs as part of their Twelve Days of Christmas promotion. Pickings have been slim in both the retailing and performance of music as far as The Basement Discs and Spectrum have been concerned in 2017 so these sorts of concerns are very real.
It was just as well we left Mt E very early as Little Collins St is blocked off at midday necessitating an unexpected deviation ending with our being stalled at the lights adjacent to the Elizabeth St entrance of the Block Arcade - where I abandoned Broc and took myself and both our guitars to the fabled entrance of The Basement Discs leaving Broc to sort out the parking dilemma on his own.
I'd set-up and tuned by the time he found the shop (Broc's never been there before) and we had only about five minutes before we were due to start and there was a crowd already in place waiting expectantly.
It was an unusual set given my history at the Basement, with only two or three of my tunes mixed in with a bunch of COVERS, including a nod to Sir Paul (She's a Woman) and Otis' Dock o' the Bay.. (pic C. Mintrom)
gig report / 3.12.17 Spectrum plus, Madder Lake & Normie at the Masters of Rock show

1) Ted Lethborg expresses his sincere thanks for Disco Dilemma 2) Normie on fire (with Gil Matthews on guitar!)
Spectrum and Madder Lake behemoth
7.12.17 - The second consecutive year that the Masters of Rock show has been held at the Flying Saucer Club (the Elsternwick RSL) but also the last time as the Saucer's pulling out. It's a shame as the match is a good one.
Madder Lake was on first - but no 12lb Toothbrush? Then Spectrum plus with Rock Critic as my personal highlight. Ted Lethborg appreciated the inclusion of Disco Dilemma. (pic 1) Madder Lake clambered on-stage for IBG - and then Toothbrush at last!
Normie seemed tired but the crowd loved him and his endless stream of hits. (pic 2)
gig report / 1.12.17 1st BASE w Mick'n'Broc at the Skylark Room Upwey

1) Mick'n'Broc saunter through their support set 2) Jeremy, Mike and George all concentrate manfully
1st BASE and Mick'n'Broc do their best
2.12.17 -
I'm sure the weather didn't help, but the bookings weren't strong in the first place so there was only a small audience to savour the last of 1st BASE's rare appearances for 2017.
It turned out that I was familiar with the Skylark Room and in fact we all immediately felt at home. My failure to read the small print meant that Maria was ungainfully employed to man the door while George and Jeremy sorted out the sound desk, but apart from that there were no major dramas.
Mick'n'Broc breezed through their set, (pic 1 ) minus Dock o' the Bay, and 1st BASE (pic 2) balanced the sublime and the odd catastrophe with aplomb.
M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D