March is going to be another exciting month for live music in Bendigo. Scanning the online what’s on and events pages, it’s shaping-up to be pretty busy, with many highlights.
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 4, sees two regular musical visitors to Bendigo join forces for a double header on the Blues Tram. The Mojo Corner are a hard-working Geelong-based blues outfit. They’ll be showcasing tracks from their new album, Bullet on A Train. They’re joined by Melbourne chanteuse Emilee South whose mix of styles and genres encompasses Hawaii, small-town Australia, and 1950s Paris. The Blues Tram departs from the Central Deborah Goldmine at 2pm. Tickets are available from the Bendigo Visitor Centre.
Fans of famous curmudgeon Van Morrison will get to see some of his classics performed at the Ulumbarra on Friday, March, 10, but without the worry that the great man will storm off the stage in a huff. Punters, instead, will enjoy Vince Jones perform some of the Ulsterman’s masterpieces from Astral Weeks and Moondance.
For musically heavier-leaning Bendigonians, the long weekend, March 10-12, sees Musicman host MusicSlam #8. A weighty 70+ bands are already booked for the three-day event, which sees many local favourites treading the familiar stages. Also appearing though, are some bands whose Bendigo appearances are a bit rarer. Strawberry Fist Cake are a truly incomparable punk outfit from Melbourne. Their live shows really are something to behold. Tragic Earth will also be making the trip up from Melbourne, as are The Louds from Geelong. Fronted by the imposing Mick Ryan, The Louds are a proudly non-commercial outfit: “we’re real people with jobs and problems”. But they’re out to have some fun, and live up to their name with their gutsy, noisy shows. The immensely talented Cameron Holmes will chip in at MusicSlam with a solo show.
On the Sunday of the long weekend Midweek Blues will hit the stage at the Goldmines Hotel for their last-but-one gig before hunkering down to record their debut album in early April with Mark Woods at Bald Hill Studios. The as-yet-untitled album will feature nine or ten original tracks.
Blood Sweat & Tears are an iconic American jazz-rock collective with a half century’s gigging and releases behind them. There are currently eight of them. Their Wikipedia entry lists 152 previous members – including one with the surname “Alias” in 1975. A different era – apparently if you can remember it, you weren’t there. Or was that the 1960s? I can’t remember. Blood Sweat & Tears have a wide international fan base built on classics like Spinning Wheel and Hi-De-Ho. They play at the Ulumbarra on Thursday, March, 16.
Archer was a notable absentee from last year’s Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival. But he’ll be back in a couple of weeks to play an intimate show at the Old Church on the Hill on Friday, March, 17. Support comes from Graciana Holland.
Just over the bridge on the same night, at the Golden Vine, Smokestack Rhino also make a welcome return to Bendigo.
The following weekend a well-known English musician by the name of Jagger will embark on a mini-tour of Bendigo. Not that Jagger. But his younger brother, Chris Jagger, will be in town for three gigs in two days, including a journey on the Blues Tram – with Bill Barber in tow – on Saturday March 25. The night before, Jagger plays the Handle Bar. The Saturday night sees him take up residence at the Rifle. Jagger junior has been playing his brand of blues, rock n roll and country since the early 1970s.
Fridays at the Golden Vine in recent months have seen audiences flocking back for some great gigs. That trend continues with Jeff Lang in town on March, 24 and Claude Hay’s “swamp rock bluesy funk” sound taking over the Vine a week later. Lang’s new album Alone in Bad Company, was released just last week.
A big month indeed.