I spent a couple of weeks in New Zealand last year, and thought I should check out the scene over there. The history of blues in New Zealand dates from the 1960s. The earliest blues influences on New Zealand musicians were indirect — not from the United States but from white British blues musicians, first the R&B styles of The Animals and The Rolling Stones, and later the blues-tinged rock of groups such as Led Zeppelin.
Many years ago – too many for me really to admit and probably not long enough ago for the Wollongong Chamber of Commerce – there was a character on TV called Norman Gunston, one of Garry McDonald’s alter egos. I particularly remember his segment What’s on in Wollongong.
Last week we saw the results of The Age Music Victoria Genre Awards. The Age Music Victoria Awards are the largest publicly voted music awards in Australia.
There are eleven categories covering a range of music genres, from heavy metal through to the blues. Nominees in each category were chosen by a panel of music industry professionals and media, with eligibility restricted to Victorian releases and performances between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014.
Many readers will know about the Brill Building on Broadway in Manhatta. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s a 1931, 11-storey building which has been amazingly significant in the USA music industry. Incidentally, for those with a QI sort of mind, it got its name from a haberdasher with a store on ground level. Must have been a good shop because he bought the building!
The life of a working musician is, for the most part, not the greatest financial experience. Having said that, it is amazing just how often and how sincerely musicians contribute to events, both by direct donation and organising and by playing free to entertain a crowd and encourage them to contribute.
Regular readers may have detected a note of concern in these columns at the general winding down of the live music scene in Geelong. The outer areas, the Bellarine, Otways and Great Ocean Road districts, are not doing too badly. Wineries are good venues, Martians Café, Harvester Moon, the Chook Shop and Saints and Sailors and a number of others.
Geelong audiences have a real treat coming up on Friday the 12th of September at Pistol Pete’s Food n Blues. And while I’m at it, I’d just like to say that Pete Raimundo is transforming the Geelong live blues scene through his regular bookings of some sensational local and not so local blues artists. An example of this is his booking of Pugsley Buzzard.
Sometimes it feels like we’re stuck down here in the antipodes, miles from the action of the mainstream blues scene. But it’s not so! The 31st International Blues Challenge is on in January 2015, and it’s time to get ready! The Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society has called for bands and individuals to nominate for our Victorian Blues Challenge.
If you have a look at the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society webpage or newsletter, you will find an entry describing their “Eternal Patron”, Dutch Tilders. Many organisations have a patron, but this is the only example I have ever come across of an Eternal Patron. Immediately, you think that this must be something special.