WORDS BY RYAN PEARCE
For many, the idea of being a ‘rock star’ is a glamorous fantasy most of us will never achieve. Standing on stage, under the bright lights, belting out a huge tune. I’m sure everyone has at some point sung into their television remote or hairbrush, mimicking the mannerisms of the great entertainers: Michael Hutchence, Freddie Mercury, Tina Turner – if at the same time dismally failing to hit their notes.
The Bundaberg Region for many years has provided a platform for artists to hone their skills, propelling numerous locals towards long careers both here, nationally and in some cases, internationally. Many of these local artists through their hard work, combined with the support of dynamic live music venues, have become household names, helping create the vibrant Bundaberg entertainment culture we still enjoy today.
Despite the past two years delivering its fair share of challenges to artists and venues, as they continue to navigate an ever-changing COVID-19 world, the resilience of the industry is testament to the passion of musos and the people that support them.
Jarrod Murphy, publican of The Metro Hotel, described the tests faced by those in hospitality.
“The most difficult part has been restoring people’s faith and confidence in returning to venues to enjoy live music,” Jarrod said.
Despite the numerous setbacks and restrictions, there are positives to emerge, with renewed hope for the future of local live music.
“Seeing people engage with live music, giving some joy back to the community, has been rewarding and encouraging,” he said.
There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of live music and Bundy’s musicians bring it in spades. Some of our success stories already have enduring legacies.
You’d be hard pressed to find a long-term local that has never seen the legendary A2Z live at least once over the years. Todd Keightley has forged a committed following not only locally, but in other regions such as the Sunshine Coast. Mark Lavender has made his mark (no pun intended) by playing his entertaining brand of country rock across our venues, and all the way to Tamworth. There’s Abby Skye’s towering voice, Smooth Velvet rocking stages, Brendan Egan, Lewis McKee, Liana McKay, One Word … to say there’s an abundance of talent would be an understatement.
Providing the podium for these acts are our Region’s live music venues. On the outskirts of Bundaberg, the Bucca Hotel (read more on pages 14 and 15), South Kolan Hotel, Agnes Water Tavern and Vintner’s Secret Vineyard present outstanding gig-going experiences. While in the heart of Bundaberg, Oodies Café, The Spotted Dog at The Railway Hotel, Ballistic Brewhouse (see our back cover), The Waves Sports Club (see page 16) and The Metro Hotel are just a few of the excellent spots to catch our resident talent.
Start by checking out Bundaberg Gig Guide on Facebook, the go-to for live music information and listings. Now, more than ever, supporting our venues and musicians has never been more vital.
Our international success stories
Bundy boys Shane Parsons and Simon Ridley make up two-thirds of the electrifying rock act DZ Deathrays. Over the course of the past 10 years, they have won ARIA awards, performed at the Reading Festival in the UK, Splendour In The Grass, and have been voted into Triple J’s Hottest 100 multiple times.
A talented multi-instrumentalist and looper, Carl Wockner relocated to Nashville, Tennessee to help further his career. He has since won multiple awards, and continues to tour and release original music across the US.
Tommy Trash, born Thomas Olsen, is a world-renowned DJ and producer. He attended Walkervale Primary School and Kepnock High School. He started his career as a talented trumpeter and pianist and is now signed to Ministry of Sound, the biggest label in electronic music.