The Week That Was: 11 March 2016

11 March 2016 | 12:30 pm | Staff Writer

Respect for the recently departed, someone's stepping up to save The Tivoli, we need to do more for women in music, and more

It's been a massive week for music, full of successes and sadness alike. We lost a handful of greats, discovered the extent of the industry's gender disparity, saw big wins at prominent events for Courtney Barnett, Adam Brand, Lee Kernaghan and others, announced a wealth of incredible tours, and so much more.

No need to sit around just talking about it, though; let's get straight to it.


Stalwart Californian melodic hardcore outfit Being As An Ocean are headed Down Under in a couple of months for their first headline run in the country since 2013.

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They have 10 shows lined up in May and June, with support coming from reunited WA crew Saviour and ascendant Melburnian band Void Of Vision, riding high in the wake of last year's debut EP Broken//Bones.

We're not kidding with the title description - at a whopping two shows in duration, Hockey Dad's So Tired tour is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it affair.

Still, it's hard to be too mad about it, given that it's going down in the wake of their impending appearance at the renowned SXSW event in Austin, Texas, this month, and off the back of a massive performance in 2015, which saw them rub shoulders with the likes of DZ Deathrays, Bad//Dreems and Jungle Giants, rack up industry deals and put out a debut EP. We'd be tired too.

Local fans have been eagerly awaiting a visit from venerated US rock veterans L7 since they were first announced on the doomed Soundwave 2016 line-up, and now they're going to have to wait a little longer.

It's for very good reason, though, with the band recently announcing that a "private, non-trivial" health emergency had forced them to postpone their recently announced Aussie tour until October. Hey, it's better than an outright cancellation.

Gird your loins, people, because the outrageous tunes and crotch fixations of Steel Panther are headed to stages in major cities in just a couple of months.

Kicking off at Luna Park, Sydney, in mid-June, the run of shows - which comes in support of recent live acoustic album and film Live From Lexxi's Mom's Garage - also takes in performances in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.


Death happens to us all, but 2016 has been unusually cruel in the frequency and suddenness with which it's been claiming long-beloved icons of industry in its opening months.

This week was especially rough, however, as fans, family and friends have faced the loss of Aussie music icons Jon English and Ross Hannaford, the latter of whom was described by his Daddy Cool bandmates as "truly one of a kind".

It didn't stop internationally, either, with Aaron Hoffman of US one-hit-wonders Harvey Danger passing away unexpectedly at age 43, the death of garage rock icon Andrew Loomis, and the world still reeling from the death of "Fifth Beatle" George Martin. Additionally, former Rolling Stones member Bill Wyman has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Flat-cap-lovin' howler Brian Johnson of veteran Oz-rockers AC/DC has had to pre-emptively pull the plug on his long and storied touring career following advice from doctors that to continue performing would be tantamount to signing up for going totally deaf.

Somewhat concerningly, it turns out it was only a surprise for a few of us - in fact, Johnson has been aware of his worsening hearing since late 2014, but has blamed it on having sat in a race car without ear plugs once rather than belting out Thunderstruck for screaming throngs.

"Music had nothing to do with it," he told US radio host Howard Stern at the time.

The long-embattled Maitreya Festival saw its brief dash for glory knifed in the crib after it started the week being slammed as "arrogant" and "disgraceful" by police, officials and fellow promoters in the wake of its decision to ignore its inability to get a permit and steam ahead at a new location.

It wasn't to be, though; facing mounting pressure, criticism and opposition, the organisers ultimately decided to pull the plug.

Miracles will never cease - the NSW state government is planning a "night-time economy roundtable" to review Sydney's widely maligned lockout laws, finally engaging in meaningful discourse with the live music industry, hoteliers, youth organisations, government agencies and other stakeholders. It's a welcome development, but considerably overdue; in the words of Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne, "A 'round table discussion' won't be enough to undo the damage [Premier Mike Baird] has done to Sydney's live music scene."

Not just on a local level, either; when the boys from cult US comedy series Workaholics are even telling you to "get your sh** together", it might be time to take notice, Mike.

This week, Sydney heroes DMA's absolutely knocked it out of the park on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, playing breakthrough single Delete and immediately making a splash with our friends in the northern hemisphere.

They're far from the only Aussies to have stepped up when the lights and millions-strong audiences of America have come calling, though, so we've taken the opportunity to recount some of the best performances from locals doing the whole nation proud on American TV, including the likes of Tame Impala, Chet Faker and more.


The best of Australian country music was recognised in Brisbane at Thursday night's 2016 CMC Awards, with venerated musicians and brimmed-hat enthusiasts Adam Brand, Lee Kernaghan and Amber Lawrence proving the big winners of the night.

Brand walked away with the title of CMC Oz Artist Of The Year, while Lawrence nabbed her second Female Oz Artist Of The Year title - but veteran troubadour Kernaghan flexed his diversity by picking up Oz Male Artist Of The Year, Australian Video Of The Year and the ARIA Highest Selling Australian Album award.

Western Australia is ramping up for this year's WAM Song Of The Year Awards, with the full list of nominations across the event's 16 categories being announced this week.

Out in front is eclectic act Joni In The Moon, who picked up four nominations (two in the Electronic category alone), with fellow locals joining the ranks of recognised artists including Chaos Divine, Figurehead, Brayden Sibbald, Eastwinds and many more.

We're not trying to count our chickens before they've hatched here, but encouraging news comes out of the saga of Brisbane venue The Tivoli this week as a local businessman and music fan is lodging a tender - "well above valuation" - with the sole intention of maintaining the space's utility as a live music venue.

"I'm just heavily interested in music in Brisbane — I love it," Hutchinson Builders' Scott Hutchinson told Yahoo News of reasons for stepping up. "I don't have horses or fast cars or boats or planes or anything. Going out in Brisbane is my thing."

It's not a lock, but it's a much more positive early development than many were probably expecting. #savethetivoli

Triple j Hack reminded us of how far we all have to go in the fight for gender equality this International Women's Day by releasing a series of statistics and infographics to demonstrate the true extent of disparity experienced between men and women in the music industry.

The issue was only given greater weight by the near-simultaneous revelations that Crystal Castles had been dropped from a feminist gig after ex-frontwoman Alice Glass voiced concerns about the appropriateness of the presence of former collaborator Ethan Kath, while Kelly Clarkson joined the chorus of voices supporting US pop star Kesha in her protracted dispute with Sony and on-thin-ice producer Dr Luke and another two female music journos spoke out on sexual harassment they'd experienced in the line of duty.

Unstoppable singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett has bolstered her ever-growing list of accolades by taking out this year's 11th annual Australian Music Prize.

The victory, for her widely lauded LP Sometimes I Sit & Think, & Sometimes I Just Sit, has netted the Pedestrian At Best hitmaker a cool $30,000 in cash for her troubles, and lands her in the esteemed company of previous winners such as Remi, Big Scary, Hermitude, The Jezabels and more.

Green-minded troubadours Paul Kelly and Ash Grunwald are among a handful of prominent Aussie music personalities lending their support to the nascent #BYOBottle campaign to phase out disposable plastic water bottles at gigs and festivals.

The initiative is spearhead by Green Music Australia, and has also attracted the backing of high-profile personalities such as Missy Higgins, Katie Noonan, David Bridie, Holly Throsby and FourPlay.

Well, this isn't a match-up we were expecting, but we're so glad it's happening: local ensemble The Cat Empire are vying for the week's top spot on the ARIA Albums Chart against incendiary US rapper Kendrick Lamar. Can the veteran Aussies' new album Rising With The Sun stand up to the surprise release of Lamar's untitled unmastered?

Meanwhile, in the indie charts, Sia remains a dominant force, claiming the week's top two places on the Albums chart as well as two top-five entries on the Singles ladder.

Still want more? Check out our most recent album reviews, live reviews, and interviews to help get you by.