Australia’s visionary songstress Wendy Rule returns to Melbourne from her current hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico to celebrate the launch of her double-album ‘Persephone’. The culmination of over twelve years work, this exciting project is unlike anything Wendy has done before, a beautifully evocative retelling of the Ancient Greek myth of the Goddess Persephone’s descent into the Underworld, and the ensuing grief of her mother Demeter, the Goddess of the Grain. ‘Persephone’ is a focused ‘song cycle’ – almost like an opera – designed to guide the listener through this ancient tale of the cycles of nature. Wendy and friends will be recreating the album live in its entirety at the Thornbury Theatre on Saturday 23rd February. Wendy will be joined on stage by her band, Elissa Goodrich on vibraphone, marimba and percussion, Rachel Samuel on cello, Timothy Van Diest on synth and guitar. Wendy will also be accompanied by a ‘Greek Chorus’ of three singers who feature on the album, Melody Moon, Talie Helene and Greek songstress Callie Galati, who is flying in from Athens to celebrate the launch. Prior to the main act, dinner and show guests will be serenaded by the dreamy sounds of Sangara (Rachel Samuel, Melody Moon and guests).
Thornbury Theatre plays host to three Port Fairy Folk Festival sideshows, Ralph McTell, Sharon Shannon & Susan O’Neil and Americana legend Alejandro Escovedo.
Folk legend and storyteller, Ralph McTell celebrates more than 50 years on the road and returns to Australia, playing the Thornbury Theatre on Thursday 1st March with new album ‘Hill of Beans’. McTell is best known for his song ‘Streets of London’, which has been covered by over two hundred artists around the world, and for his tale of Irish emigration, ‘From Clare to Here’. In 2002 he was presented with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Sharon Shannon & Susan O’Neill (aka SON) play the Thornbury Theatre on Wednesday 6th March. Multi award-winning accordionist Sharon Shannon has a legendary reputation. She is famous for bringing together a wide variety of musical genres, allowing her to weave her own unique style into the fields of African, country, reggae, blues, jazz, dance and classical. Sharon is one of Ireland’s best-known musicians, a former member of the Scottish-Irish band The Waterboysand a gifted solo artist. Sharon has worked with many celebrities from the world of music, including world stars such as Bono and Adam of U2, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne and Nigel Kennedy. The prodigiously gifted soulful and husky voiced Susan O’Neill (aka SON), also from Ireland with be playing first. Using guitar, harmonica, trumpet and a loop pedal, Susan delivers a timeless and powerful blend of the old and new Irish folk music, making for an entertaining and enchanting musical experience.
Alejandro Escovedo is touring Australia and New Zealand for the very first time and will play the Thornbury Theatre on Tuesday 12th March. Escovedo is the recipient of the Americana Music Association’s lifetime achievement award, the Austin Music Award’s Townes Van Zandt Songwriter Award and No Depression magazine’s Artist of the Decade. The legendary Mexican-American singer-songwriter will tour on back of acclaimed new immigration-themed album ‘The Crossing’. Joining Alejandro’s band on guitar for the national tour will be You Am I’s Tim Rogers and support act is gifted songwriter James McCann. Alejandro (pronounced Al-e-han-dro) Escovedo is one of the most acclaimed songwriters of his generation. His songs have been recorded by the likes of Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Ryan Adams, Cowboy Junkies, and Calexico, and he’s shared stages with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to John Prine to REM’s Peter Buck to the Velvet Underground’s John Cale. In the 80s Alejandro Escovedo was a member of Austin-based-based alt-country rock pioneers, Rank and File, whose Slash Records debut ‘Sundown’ found a home in many Australian record collections in the early cowpunk days.
After the stunning success of The Amy Winehouse Show, Atlanta Coogan relishes in the opportunity to showcase her most loved artists. Growing up literally forming her voice and artistry, the brilliant and utterly feminine Songs of Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell will be showcased with an all-female band at Thornbury Theatre on Saturday 2nd March. This is a truly unique group of musicians and voice mastery. Playing songs from ‘Blue’, ‘Ladies of the Canyon’ and ‘Clouds’ by Joni Mitchell. She will also perform songs from ‘The Kick Inside’, ‘Never for Ever’ and ‘Hounds of Love’ by Kate Bush. A chance to meditate on the genius of these artists even though the latter has been shunned by the rock and roll hall of fame. Come and celebrate the beauty.
The 2019 Melbourne Taranta Festival will take place March 13-17 across Melbourne with the headline event taking place at the Thornbury Theatre on Friday 15th March with Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino direct from Italy. Formed by writer Rina Durante in 1975, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino is regarded as Italy’s leading and longest-standing traditional music ensemble, hailing from the Salento, the heel of the Italian boot, in Puglia. The seven piece band and dancer are the leading exponents in a new wave of young performers re-inventing Southern Italy’s Pizzica musical and dance traditions for today’s global audience. Leadership of the ensemble was handed down to Durante by his acclaimed father Daniele, in 2007. Durante continues to innovate and energize, bringing decades of experience playing with global artists (Ballake Sissoko, Ibrahim Maalouf, Piers Faccini), contemporary classical composers (Ludovico Einaudi), and pop mavericks (Stewart Copeland of The Police). Critically acclaimed with 19 albums and countless live performances throughout USA, Canada, Europe and the Middle East, in 2010 CGS was awarded Best Italian World Music Group at Italy’s MEI confab. They will also be appearing at Womadelaide.
Bruce Prichard is a professional wrestling personality perhaps best known as a manager and producer for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and a hit podcaster. As a manager for the promotion, Prichard performed under the ring name Brother Love, inspired by controversial televangelists of the time. After leaving WWE, Prichard was the Senior Vice President of Programming and Talent Relations for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (now Impact Wrestling). Prichard and Conrad Thompson now co-host the highly successful award winning podcast. A terrific storyteller, Bruce has done and seen it all and now he is sharing it in a spoken word tour.Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard live on Saturday 23rd March at the Thornbury Theatre.
Saturday Afternoon Fever with Matthew Hardy on Saturday 5th April is a suburban story of footy obsession, and a loser who finally wins……kind of. Saturday Afternoon Fever is performed and was written by Matthew Hardy, original co-host of The Run Home with Dermie, Huddo and Hardy. Matthew is also a BAFTA winning writer for Ten’s ‘The Sketch Show’, the writer of ‘One Man Breaking Bad’, ‘Willy Wonka Explained’, ‘Chick Flick’ and the co-writer of ‘Effie The Virgin Bride’. Based on the bestselling Random House book of the same name, this timeless classic, laugh-out loud Melbourne-set story, has won rave reviews. Previous runs have totally sold out and this limited 20th Anniversary season run will sell out too….so be quick! Doors 6.30pm
The Comedy Festival Shows continue on Saturday 5th April. Following the success of ‘Better Call Saul’ and in advance of the Breaking Bad movie, One Man Breaking Bad plays a very limited run for this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival plus select shows around Australia capital cities. Devised in Melbourne by comedy writer extraordinaire Matthew Hardy (Chick Flick, Graham Norton Show, Effie the Virgin Bride), One Man Breaking Bad has received dazzling reviews from around the globe including The Hollywood Reporter (“A one-man tour-de-force”), Time Out London (“A hi-energy, laugh-out-loud, sensational show”) and the Daily Beast (“A smash hit! – KILLS on stage!”). One Man Breaking Bad was the Smash Hit of the Edinburgh Festival (Twice!), Sold Out in New York, London, Brussels, Mumbai, Sydney, Auckland and even The Roxy on Sunset in LA. Finally, Australian fans again have the chance to see the incredible Miles Allen, all the way from LA, hilariously recreate every character from the best TV series ever made. LA actor Miles Allen smacks the senses with his super-charged, crazily accurate renditions of all the iconic characters, including Walter White, Jesse, Saul, Skyler, Hank, Walt Junior, Mike and Gus Fring.With over a million hits on YouTube, and sell-out runs at comedy festivals in Melbourne and Edinburgh, Allen’s incredible impersonations break all six seasons down into one, exhilarating, hilarious tour de force performance.
Stars – in concert return to The Thornbury Theatre on Friday 12th April. Stars got together in Adelaide 45 years ago, they were all musicians from around the same neighbourhood and basically fell together through a love of music at the time including Free, and Deep Purple. After a short while supporting bands from interstate such as Dingoes and Little River Band they signed to Mushroom Records and relocated to Melbourne. Andy Durant joined the band with a collection of his own songs which formulated their sound from rock boogie to country rock. Stars toured the Country with notable overseas acts like Joe Cocker, The Beach Boys, Linda Rondstadt and ELO among many others. After the release of Stars’ second album ‘Land of Fortune’, live album ‘1157’and three years of constant touring a decision was made to end Stars and sadly shortly after Andy died from a melanoma. In 1980 the star studded ‘Andrew Durant Memorial Concert’ was staged at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda, featuring the members of Stars, Renee Geyer, Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, Don Walker, Richard Clapton and many more of the cream of Australian artists who are still recording and playing to this day, a live recording of the show was released to much acclaim and promptly went gold. After four decades, Stars are back with the original line up featuring Mick Pealing on vocals and guitar, Mal Eastick on guitar, Roger McLachlan on bass, Glyn Dowding on drums and featuring Nick Charles on guitar who with Mick has written the fine new songs on ‘Boundary Rider’.
Blues aficionados – get ready for it! American bluesman Chris Cain is coming to Australia and playing the Thornbury Theatre on Friday 10th May. Cain concocts a soulful stew of Memphis style electric blues accompanied by powerfully deep vocals and jazz inspired blues guitar riffs that are uniquely his own, a fine brew that pays homage to his heroes, sometimes reminiscent of the legendary BB King and Joe Bonamassa, but always with his own inimitable seasoning. A formidable talent and multi-instrumentalist, his expressive style is the result of a lifetime of study and the relentless pursuit of music mastery. His passion and intensity are a blend of his mother’s Greek ancestry and his father’s soulful black heritage. In 1987 he burst onto the blues scene with his award winning debut album, he soon found himself sharing the stage and trading licks with a few of those legends, including Albert King and Albert Collins. Chris has released a dozen albums, each filled with soul-stirring songs pulled from his own blues drenched heart. His latest album, simply titled ‘Chris Cain’ has been nominated for Contemporary Blues Album of 2018 and he’s also nominated as Male Blues Artist of The Year at this year’s Blues Music Awards in Memphis.
Melbourne Comedy Festival continues at the Thornbury Theatre with Chick Flick on Saturday 13th, Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th and Friday 20th April. Jo Stanley (FOX FM, GOLD FM) and Talei Wolfgramm (The Wolfgramm Sisters, RocKwiz, Paul Kelly) star in this outrageous evening of laughs and sing-a-longs including classic rom-com songs such as ‘I Will Always Love You’, ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘When You Say Nothing At All’, ‘Shoop Shoop Song’, ‘Love Is All Aroun’, ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ and ‘Time Of My Life’ among many others. Two women miss a late-night final flight to a girlfriend’s funeral and share a hotel room for the night. They drink a lot, laugh a lot and watch chick flicks, as their friend would’ve wanted. Things get messy, secrets are exposed and they sing the best songs from the best romantic comedy soundtracks. Chick Flick crosses boundaries between comedy, pub choir and musical stage show to position itself as something totally new, and yet warmly familiar.
San Francisco based singer-songwriter Sun Kil Moon (Mark Kozelek) returns to Australia in May for a very special east-coast tour including the Thornbury Theatre on Sunday 19th May. Sun Kil Moon continues to command a firm reputation for prolific, profound recorded output and exemplary live capabilities. The Guardian hailed Sun Kil Moon’s live offering “utterly magnificent”, Brooklyn Vegan declaring it “one of the most surprising and fulfilling show-going experiences I’ve had in years.” Take a seat and strap in for over two hours of Sun Kil Moon who is set to deliver an unparalleled, unforgettable live music experience.
Blues legend Eric Bibb has a full bag of stories to tell from around the world and here he comes, bringing his new album ‘Global Griot’ and full band with him when he performs at the Thornbury Theatre on Thursday 23rd May. A leading bluesman of his generation, two time Grammy nominated Eric Bibb will take to the stage with his sensational band for an evening of uplifting and inspiring folk and blues. Eric has released 37 albums and enjoyed a non-stop touring career spanning five decades. Carving his own musical destiny with honesty and power, Eric Bibb is a remarkable live performer who has performed for Nelson Mandela and with renowned artists such as Charlie Musselwhite, Toumani Diabaté, Glen Scott, Larry Crockett, Habib Koité, Jools Holland and many more.
Australian national treasure, Robert Forster is returning to the Thornbury Theatre on Friday 5th July, touring behind his new solo album ‘Inferno’. This is his first solo album in 4 years – his second album over the last eleven years. Forster only makes records when he feels he has the songs – on ‘Inferno’, he has nine songs he totally believes in. ‘Inferno’ was made in Berlin in 2018 during summer with producer/engineer Victor Van Vugt (Beth Orton ‘Trailer Park’, P J Harvey ‘Stories of the City, Stories from the Sea’), who engineered Forster’s debut solo album classic ‘Danger In The Past’ in 1990. Over the last four years Forster has been busy. He curated the acclaimed, Domino Records released, ‘Anthology Volume 1 1978-1984’ on his old band The Go-Betweens. His memoir ‘Grant & I’ was Mojo and Uncut’s Book of the Year. He continues to publish music journalism, play concerts, and he never stops writing beautiful songs.
THE THORNBURY THEATRE gig guide:
Sat Feb 23 Wendy Rule ‘Persephone’ Album Launch
Fri Mar 1 Ralph McTell (UK)
Sat Mar 2 The Whole Story-Blue…. the songs of Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell
Wed Mar 6 Sharon Shannon Band & Susan O’Neill aka SON (IRE)
Tue Mar 12 Alejandro Escovedo (USA)
Fri Mar 15 Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (Melbourne Taranta Festival)
Sat Mar 16 Melbourne City Wrestling – Clash of the Titans
Sat Mar 23 Something To Wrestle With – Bruce Prichard Australian Tour
Sat Apr 5 Saturday Afternoon Fever with Matthew Hardy
Sat Apr 5 One Man Breaking Bad
Fri Apr 12 Stars – In Concert
Sat Apr 13 Chick Flick
Wed Apr 18 Chick Flick
Thu Apr 19 Chick Flick
Fri Apr 20 Chick Flick
Fri May 10 Chris Cain (USA)
Sun May 19 Sun Kil Moon
Thu May 23 Eric Bibb with band
Sat Jun 1 Westgarth Idol
Fri Jul 5 Robert Forster