Sean Orr

There is no better way to spend an evening than to listen to local musicians play while enjoying a fine meal and having a drink. Small pubs and venues across regional Victoria regularly provide musician’s with the opportunities to perform in their hometowns and to new audiences. The Golden Vine Hotel, situated in King Street Bendigo holds regular performances that feature a wide range of artists.

Sean Orr, an acoustic artist originally from Echuca enlightened the Bendigo audiences at the Golden Vine Hotel with a mixture of his own original creations and cover songs from the likes of ‘The Boss’ Bruce Springsteen. It was very refreshing to be able to attend a performance that mainly encompasses newly created songs from Sean’s own collection.

Sean’s onstage presence was full of energy and showed that he genuilnely enjoys and takes pride in his music, always ensuring that he engaged his audience with any details about the backstory of his songs that was needed for listeners to understand the context and full meaning behind the songs.

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Although creating your own interpretation of a songs meaning can be beneficial for audience members; the small, detailed descriptions gave listeners the context behind Sean’s creations – which worked very well in this small intimate performance.

By Rhiannon Lloyd

Interview: Steph Bitter

aaaaaaSteph Bitter, one of Bendigo’s talented artists held her first EP launch this past Sunday the 1st May at Rock Pride Music. This cool, relaxed and inviting establishment created an excellent atmosphere for all to enjoy the evening.


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kicked off the events with beautiful renditions of original and cover music, before handing over to Steph to finish off the evening.

Before the event kicked off, Steph provided an insight into her interests in music and how she got to where she is today.

Who are your main influences in music?

“When I was 10, my parents took me to my first concert, and I was inspired immensely by it; by Josh Pyke. That concert was what kick-started my love for music, and Josh Pyke is the artist that has influenced me the most in terms of my own songwriting. I have, however, been very inspired by the likes of John Butler and a band called Daughter.”

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When and why did you start singing and playing the guitar?

“I had sung in the school choir through most of primary school, and always loved to sing. For such a shy, introverted child, I remember being so excited to join up with the school choir. I wanted to join in Prep, but I remember they wouldn’t let me until I was in Grade 1 when I could read the words better. When I finally joined, I loved it, and I don’t really remember why I stopped, but I think it was because my friends stopped going and people started to laugh. At one point I made it into the Australian Youth Choir, but we couldn’t afford to continue so I never went. I only started playing guitar when I was 14. In year 7, we did a music elective class, and to begin with I was terrified of the idea that I might have to stand in front of a class and perform something. Apart from my involvement in the primary school choir, I wasn’t properly musical at all, and I was so nervous every time I walked into that class. Luckily I never had to perform, but I did fiddle around on the piano in class, and was surprised at how easy it was to make music like this. So I decided that, seeing I loved music so much, why don’t I start making some of my own? I had done it with books and writing, so why couldn’t I do it with music? For a while, I started learning piano, and then a few months later I decided a piano was a difficult thing to carry around with you, so I picked up my little brother’s guitar and started teaching myself. I was so excited by it all that I went and bought my own guitar, and enrolled in music in Year 8 (and later in Year 9, 10, 11 and 12), taking every opportunity, I could to learn more. It was then that I started singing again. Music quickly went from my least favourite class, to the only class I looked forward to.”

You have played across a variety of places, which of your shows are the most memorable?

“My most memorable ‘show’, if you could call it that, was one of the first times I played in front of my friends, and the first time I performed the first song I ever wrote: Your Revolution (which is on the EP). It was at my 15th birthday party, at night around the campfire. Just me, my guitar, and a sheet of paper (in case I forgot the lyrics). Apart from that, I performed in a ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition at my school in Year 9. I was allhhhh.pngowed to participate solo because I was playing an original; the second song I wrote, called Golden Heart (also on the EP). I didn’t win any prizes, but one of the judges was Colin Thompson, the founder and organiser of Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival. Instead of a prize, I got his business card, and he asked me to call him when I had a 45-minute set, and he’d hook me up with some gigs around Bendigo. To me, that was just as good as, if not better than 1st prize.”

Where else would you like to play, any dream stages?

“I don’t have any particular dream stages that I’d like to play, but ideally I’d like to fill up a venue like Festival Hall in Melbourne, or even Rod Laver if I’m lucky. I’d like to play on stages like that all around the world.”

You’re releasing your first album First of May on the 1st of May, what was the process like going into recording and organising your launch at Rock Pride Music.

“Recording this EP was very sudden. My guitar teacher, Sereja (Serge) Straznik, had talked about it for quite a while, but we had never done much about it until he was going to leave town and go travelling. So around this time last year, I prepared my five songs, and we recorded them in his home studio across a weekend. We experimented with different sounds, different instruments, and he helped me to fill the songs out
a bit more. It was a very relaxed, experimental process, and before I knew it, I had five songs recorded and no idea what to do with them. Eventually I got my footing, started finding the funds to print it, and began to arrange the finer details. It took a while, but it’s finally here. Skip offered RPM to me for the launch some time ago, and it was the perfect place to host it; a cosy, stylish, family-friendly venue with an awesome ambiance. So when everything was almost ready to go, I contacted him, set the date, and we were all set to go.”

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Have you got any tips for musicians looking to create their own albums?

“There are plenty of other musicians around Bendigo that have been doing this longer, and probably more professionally than me, but to anyone who wants to record an album: MAKE IT ALL ORIGINAL MATERIAL. Covers are good set-fillers for live performances, or to grab people’s attention, but that’s about it. If you’re going to record an album, make sure they’re all your own songs. To begin with, you’ll be saving and making so much more money because you won’t have to pay copyright fees. Plus, you’ll create a fan base around your own music, rather than around someone else’s, which is a much stronger foundation in the music industry.”

The First of May is available now through contact with Steph and is a great listen for anyone who looks for lyrics and sound filled with passion, thought and real life experiences.

By Rhiannon Lloyd

Vinyl vs. Digital download

Many of us may think that Vinyl records are a thing of the past; something that’s stacked up in your parent’s cupboards from their youth or something to make art from, but the old Records are making a strong comeback.

Vinyl collections have become replenished in stores and markets around the world, and record players are still a staple for many music collectors.

I myself have begun to start my Vinyl music collection, beginning with the My Chemical Romance and Black Veil Brides Record’s with the hope of collecting all of their released albums on this precious format. The right albums can be hard to find when your favourite band has few of their Vinyl albums available and those I know with Vinyl would never part with one of their albums making the second hand market small.

The biggest issue that I have found collecting is that vinyl albums can be quite costly. I have found that at many markets across country Victoria, you will often find a stall holder with boxes of vinyl albums for sale. You then need to spend the time to go through each box to see what you can find. The same goes for eBay. eBay is full of Vinyl albums for sale, you just need to check each albums condition and the seller’s reputation to get value for your money.

Stores like JB HiFi and Sanity also have a range of Vinyl albums for sale: both new and old. Buying from these stores will ensure that you are getting a great quality album and are often one of the best sources to find record’s from newer artists.

With the rise of digital music comes a wave of new and fast ways to access your music. From iTunes to Spotify to SoundCloud and official Youtube channels; access to both new and old music is easy to find.

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Often this method is much cheaper than buying full Vinyl albums, plus there’s the bonus of being able to place your music directly onto your devices. Many music applications allow you to pre-order your music and recommended other artists and bands for you to listen to with the click of the button.

So what is better? Vinyl or Digital Music?

Well, honestly it depends on what you want. I have both. If you look carefully enough at new albums they sometimes contain digital downloads; this giving you a two for one. But in order to take your Vinyl with you, one has to own a turntable that also converts it to digital.

By Rhiannon Lloyd

 

Open Mic Arvo @ La Trobe

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If you can sing a tune, beat a drum, bust a move or have any other skills that are just waiting to be showcased, then La Trobe University’s Open Mic Arvo is the place for you!

 

Providing a judgement-free platform for artists, the Open Mic night is a great location to get your confidence on the stage. The afternoon is held at the Eagle Bar on La Trobe’s Bundoora campus and kicks off around 4pm every Wednesday.

 

You’re bound to be greeted with a smile upon arrival by Jamal Blakkarly, the organiser and host of Open Mic Arvo and regular performer.

 

“I play most weeks. I tend to kick it off because no one really wants to start. I’ll fill gaps if there’s space but ideally if the event’s running well I shouldn’t play because there should be enough people without me.”

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The afternoon generally features acoustic acts but there are few limitations to who and what can be performed.

 

“We’ve had all sorts, we’ve had spoken word poets, we’ve had comedians, we’ve had saxophone players, we’ve had people coming up doing duets, solos, we had one guys with a whole lot of percussion stuff at one point. We try and for accommodate as much as possible.”

 

Open Mic Arvo celebrates creativity and provides students with an opportunity to gain experience and confidence.

 

“We actively reach out and encourage anyone who wants to do any kind of performance to come up, take the mic and have a go.”

 

Not only do students get a chance to try out their act but each performer is also entitled to a pint for their services!

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There is a warm atmosphere to Open Mic Arvo and a respect for all who are courageous enough to have a go on stage. It boasts a welcoming audience who are always happy to applaud new acts and regulars alike.

 

So get involved and come on down to the Eagle Bar this Wednesday! Perform for a pint or simply support your fellow students and enjoy an afternoon of free entertainment.

 

By Scarlett Maloney

Music events in and around rural areas are incredibly varied

Finding the music genre that you enjoy can often be a difficult and tedious task, however, social media, business’s and tourism programs however are making this easier. You will still have your usual annual festivals that draw in an countless amount of talent and find new artists to listen to, but you will also find local newspapers featuring new and upcoming artists in town, flyers in windows and on community notice boards and venues opening their doors at different hours to encourage new audiences to engage in different genres of music.

Finding a great band however is not the only thing we consider about an event. The time and costs also come into play when looking into whether you’re going to an event or not. A majority of venues often open their doors in the evenings for their live music performances and all ages events can be hard to come by in terms of gigs, but others are looking to change that up.

The MusicMan Megastore situated in the heart of Bendigo opened their doors at 11am on Sunday to everyone for a stunning six band line-up including; Trash Lily, Paper Boat Armanda, Junior Under the Moon, After Change, The Valley Ends and Young Lions. The sounds that came from the store intrigued passers-by and soon the room was filled of individuals of all ages enjoying the different musical sets in a relaxed environment.

An upcoming all age’s and all day event that is well worth checking out is the Winter Blues Festival in Echuca/Moama. This event running on the 29th to 31st of July of this year books an astonishing amount of bands to play in and around the town. Beginning at the start of each day you will find music lining the streets and in amongst local businesses and venues. Whilst it can be costly to go away for the weekend, this three day event in my opinion is well worth the money.

MusicMan regularly advertises a vast range of music events each week on their Gig Guide and Facebook.

By Rhiannon Lloyd

 

 

 

Music in Bendigo

For many years the Bendigo Easter Festival has been home to a large range of music, catering to almost every individul that attends the event. Stages are created throughout Rosiland park and Bull Street to create space between musicians, with each hour presenting new music genres and artists. This festival has become a great way for both local and national muscians to showcase their talent and interact with new fans.

This years event kicked off on Thursday with the Freeza Festival in Rosiland Park which was headlined by Tired Lion and supported by Vanns. Good Friday saw the beginning of the silent disco tours, a new and fun way to explore the city of Bendigo; these tours went throughout the weekend and were entertaining for those within the disco and those without. The various stages across the city saw acts like Tyler Hudson, Billy Bridge, the Bendigo District Concert Band and many more. Easter Saturday and Sunday saw many more artist’s featured including Ras Jahknow and Hailey Calvert.

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Ras Jahknow excited crowds with his energetic perfomances, singing his own original Reggae songs throughout the day. With sets at 11:15am, 1:15pm and 3pm on Easter Saturday, Ras changed up his set lists and threw in some Bob Marley covers; keeping his audience enagaged throughout the day.

With a set that was full of vibrant energy, it was impossible for there not to be dancers of all ages who loved it when Ras came off stage for some high fives with the youngest members of his auidence. Ras informed his audience that his music is about peace, respect and unity; reminding everyone in attendace of the importance of life and how we can improve it.

Hailey Calvert provided a set that kept audiences across Bendigo engaged with her stunning voice and soulful music. Hailey’s lyrics were full of emotion and audience members found it easy to connect with them. Short and to the point background information before each releavnt song created more depth to the lyrical content of those songs and allowed people to really identify with what she was singing about.

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Bendigo found Hailey on a range of different stages including the Blues Tram, Club Rouge and the Golden Vine.

Hailey who was joined by Jason Cameron on guitar and harmonies performed on the main stage in Rosiland Park at 11am on Easter Sunday. Although many were finding seating spaces for the Gala Parade along Pall Mall, many individuals and families within the park made their way over to catch some of Haileys’ set.

Hailey has upcoming gigs in Queensland, playing at Brisbanes’ The Milk Factory on the 31st March at 8pm and on the Milano stage at City Sounds beginning at 4:30pm on the 22nd April.

You can hear Hailey’s music and check out her albums on her website or on iTunes.

You can find out more about Ras Jahknow and hear his music on his website or on iTunes.

By Rhiannon Lloyd