Category Archives: David Jackson

Live Review + Photos: Gympie Music Muster 2023

One Night at The Muster
Gympie Music Muster Amamoor State Forest Queensland
August 24 – 27, 2023
Review by Natasha Rachow
Photos by David Jackson

From the onset, one night at Gympie was not enough. We arrived early Thursday afternoon to find the forest bulging. Campers were forced into overflow areas due to record ticket sales. For the first time in history, the four-day passes were sold out before the event started, and the number of attendees was estimated to be over 45,000, which is incredible given the oversaturation of festivals in 2023. Gympie has always been on the musical fans’ bucket list with a line-up dominated by country. The vibe from the onset was one of relaxation and fun. The transition into the camping area was done with ease; a massive shout out to the volunteers who were pinnacle in making this happen. 

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Live Review: Brad Cox at the Dalrymple Hotel Townsville Queensland – 2 July 2023

Review by Natasha Rachow
Photos by David Jackson – shotz by jackson

Brad Cox  Live at the Dalrymple Hotel Townsville Queensland – 2 July 2023

 I had an opportunistic chance to see Brad Cox’s show in Townsville on Sunday night. The venue, the Dalrymple Hotel, a pub in the centre of Townsville on a steamy night, was packed, yet another sellout on this national tour. Nearly 600 “Coxheads” packed the venue tonight to see what has quickly become the hottest act in Australian country music.  

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Live Review: The Waifs at The Palais Theatre – 3rd June 2023

Review by Natasha Wyborn
Photos by David Jackson – shotz by jackson

The Waifs ‘Up All Night’ – 20th Anniversary Tour

Saturday night saw a welcome return to the band’s adopted base of Melbourne, and now playing to a sell-out crowd of loyal fans in St Kilda; it was like coming home. The tour highlights the twentieth anniversary of one of Australian music’s greatest all-time albums. ‘Up All Night’ achieved double platinum status and won four ARIA Awards, no mean feat for a folk band from Albany in Western Australia. The show was an opportunity to play the album, an instant hit with fans.

Up All Night was the fourth album from the Australian Folk Mainstays. The trio comprises sisters Vikki Thorn, Donna Simpson and Josh Cunningham. Taking the stage, Simpson said this is a ‘Celebration of music. Feel free to sing along; that is exactly what the crowd did from start to finish. Opening the set with ‘Bridal Train’ from the 2004 same-titled EP. The song is not the band’s biggest hit but remains a crowd favourite. 

‘Shiny Apple’ followed by the album ‘A Brief History Live’ highlighted the distinctive three-clap intro by Simpson. Even after all these years, the lyrics are still haunting. The chorus of masses sang carefully, not to out sing Simpson as she held centre stage. 

Additional band members were introduced, long term friends Ben Franz on bass and David Ross MacDonald on drums arrived to complete the evening’s lineup. 

‘ Something’s Coming ‘ from the 2017 album ‘Ironbark; highlighted Thorn on Harmonica. All band members looked comfortable from the start exchanging banter.

What happened next was why the audience and loyal fans made the journey—hearing ‘Up All Night’ and playing the album in order was pure genius allowing the audience to know what was coming. I remember buying this CD when it was first released; I played it repeatedly and loved every song. Like all The Waifs albums, the song writing was shared between all members, a true meaning of collaboration. At the time, much like now, I was captivated by the freshness of this trio, the ability to add a stage in their life and allow the listener to jump in and share the experience.

The cover photo from the album provided a perfect backdrop to the evening ahead. ‘The lighthouse on the album cover is located at Cape Shank in Victoria’, Cunningham told the audience. It was clear from the start all members have lost nothing over the years, and all continue to bring something to the table. In between songs, the band gave insights into some of the lyrics, including.

‘London Still’ where Simpson lets the audience in on the song’s background. “People think this song is about me living in London for a long period, and I was there for four days, hatted the place and wanted to come home”. 

‘Lighthouse’ Cunningham told the audience the inspiration for this song was a fantasy about running away to own a lighthouse. A confessed introvert that liked his own company, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Although unachievable, Cunningham highlighted the ‘beautiful thing about being a songwriter is your dreams live on in a song.’ 

‘Since I’ve Been Around’ was Penned by Cunningham about his hometown in Moruya, NSW. The song delivered passionately highlighted the craftsmanship of one of Australia’s superior songwriters; Cunningham’s face showed signs of emotion, and the music still resonates with him after all these years. Thorn added the story of supporting Bob Dylan on his 2003 American Tour at the song’s end. At the soundcheck, Dylan said he ‘Liked That One’ referring to Cunninghams’ music, a better accolade I doubt you could not get anywhere.  

‘Three Down’, written by Vikki Thorn, talks about life on the road in America and the confinements of working, travelling and living with members over a long period. 

At the album’s completion, the band took the opportunity to play the audience some new music. Simpson excitedly disclosed to the audience, “I have written a song. It’s not a break-up song”, sharing her love for her new partner, Curly. The song title references her lover’s occupation working three shifts on and three off. ‘Swing’ is a song that undoubtedly has a place on the new album. ‘Heart in The Game’ could easily be sung at a local footy game or even the MCG. 

After a brief break, the band returned for a two-song encore

‘Take It In’ is a song reflecting on Cable Beach while the band were in Melbourne, featuring vocals by Missy Higgins. ‘Ironbark’, a crowd favourite, was the perfect ending to the night.

I cannot end this review without mentioning the special guests for the evening. 

Missy Higgins. On any other occasion, she is the headliner; however, on Saturday, through respect and admiration, she returned to play with a band that was influential in her career during the early days. 

Playing keyboards and guitar Higgins gave an insight into her career, songs and profoundly personal life, including a still-raw marriage breakdown, especially over the past twelve months. Her song list was interesting, returning to 2003 and playing tracks from her first EP. Higgins was open about her love and respect for The Waifs; this is obvious as these days, she plays undercard to no one. There was a clear reflection about a time after finishing her supporting set; she would sit, watch the band, and sell her then EP collecting names for her ever-growing mailing list. 

Her set included two brand songs, each filled with rawness; you could feel the emotion in the room. The songs had no names yet, fresh from the heart to the pen, then transferred onto the keyboard; I felt lucky to be in the audience for this; I think we all ‘Grieve for your love’, Missy.

Higgins gave insight into a time living in her parent’s garage; at only nineteen years of age, there was love, a relationship shared by both her sister and herself and the conflict that pursued. A close family and, as a result, an apology in music ‘The Special Two was written.

‘The Cactus that Found the Beat’ is an original song with a jazz feel written when Higgins was in year twelve. Accompanied by her brother David Higgins was a real treat to watch.

Jeff Lang was once described as ‘Australia’s Best Blues and Roots Musician. On Saturday night, you could easily see why. Lang’s guitar echoed around the theatre. Lang introduced his main role of the evening was to ‘Warm up the air’ for the headliners, but his role was so much more. Playing acoustic in its traditional way or as a slide guitar, Lang commanded attention and left me wanting to see him play a complete set and his own show. 

As this tour continues throughout Australia, the number of shows continues to grow. At last count, it was 44 and growing. It was worth the three-hour drive to sit and listen to three multi-talented musicians; going by crowd numbers, I am not alone in this opinion. 

Bridal Train, Shiny Apple, Something’s Coming , Fisherman’s Daughter, Nothing New, London Still, Lighthouse, Flesh & Blood, Highway One, Since I Been Around, 4th Floor, Rescue, 3 Down, Sweetness, Up All Night, Go, Swing, Miles, Heart In The Game,

Take It In, Ironbark

Live Review: Red Hot Summer Tour at Gateway Lakes, Wodonga – 1 April 2023

by David Jackson – shotz by jackson

Red Hot Summer Tour
Gateway Lakes Wodonga Victoria
April 1st, 2023

featuring: Paul Kelly, Bernard Fanning and Missy Higgins, Mark Seymour, Vika & Linda, Ian Moss and Troy Cassar-Daley

Attending a Red-Hot Summer Tour is like witnessing the perfect storm without the rain. Combine an incredible line-up, a great venue, and a schedule that runs like clockwork. Add in near-perfect weather; seriously, what else could a person want? On Saturday, the crowd flocked to the Gateway Lakes in Wodonga, Victoria, selling out the show weeks before. Listening to the crowd on the way in this is the staple music diet of many, often buying tickets months in advance, and there is little wonder why. This is one of the country’s best venues to see a live act. Unlike many other venues, the venue has easy driving and parking access without the headache of waiting hours to get out. The mood throughout the day was one of ease and calmness. Children were welcome, with many getting an early education into some of the country’s best music and artists.   

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Review + Photos: Chocolate Starfish – Bat Out Of Hell

Reviewer and photos by David Jackson – shotz by jackson

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Chocolate Starfish plays Bat Out Of Hell
Albury Entertainment Centre Friday, February 10th 2023.

The “sirens are screaming, and the fires are howling way down in the Albury tonight”

The enthusiastic crowd at the Albury Entertainment Centre got to witness Chocolate Starfish’s latest in their classic album series. 

I will disclose from the onset that I have an unashamed bias for the showmanship of Chocolate Starfish, in particular frontman Adam Thompson. Few music frontmen can play a show full throttle from the first note to the last, engaging every audience member. Few bands would dare to tackle in full one of the greatest albums produced in the 20th century; however the task seemed easy for this band.

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Live Review + Photos : One Electric Day at Victor Harbour – 5 November 2022

Reviewer Natasha Wyborn
Photos by David Jackson – shotz by jackson

One Electric Day 
Kent Reserve Victor Harbour South Australia
Saturday, November 5, 2022

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Photo Gallery : Big Country Festival – 7th May 2022

Photos by David Jackson – shotz by jackson

Big Country Festival  – 7th May 2022
Berry Showground, NSW

Festival Line Up
Mel Dyer, Amber Lawrence, Adam Harvey Kaylee Bell, Casey Barnes, The McClymonts, Shannon Noll, Wolfe Brothers, Travis Collins, Steve Forde, Adam Brand, Lee Kernaghan, Lanco.

Big Country Festival 2022
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Album Review : Lee Kernaghan – Live At Deni Ute Muster

Review by David Jackson

Goulburn Valley Country Music Festival 2022

Released on April 15, 2022, to coincide with his birthday. Lee Kernaghan has provided his thousands of country fans with an opportunity to cruise the highway listening to his past thirty years of hits and memories.

Recorded Live in 2019 at, the Deni Ute Muster live is a compilation of Kernahans greatest hits recorded in one of the unique places on the planet. 

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