- Birds of Tokyo
Formed in Perth back in 2004, Birds of Tokyo have grown from independent roots to become one of Australia’s most popular contemporary rock bands. Songs like “Good Lord”, “Two Of Us”, “Plans”, “Lanterns”, “Brace” and “I’d Go With You Anywhere” have all been top 10 airplay hits and have lead to appearances at every major festival in this country including Falls, Splendour In The Grass and Groovin’ The Moo, as well as headlining slots at the AFL Grand Final and NRL’s flagship State of Origin game.
Over the years the band has had eleven separate songs make Triple J’s “Hottest 100”. Their breakthrough hit “Plans” ranked #4 on the 2010 countdown. It was taken from Birds of Tokyo’s self-titled third studio album, which went double platinum and spent over eight months in the ARIA top 20. The eponymous release received the ARIA Award for Best Rock Album.
Subsequent records have helped the band carve a singular career for more than a decade, including 2012’s March Fires, which debuted at #1 on the ARIA Album Chart and produced triple-platinum radio hit “Lanterns”, their gold-certified EP Anchor (2015) and 2016’s top #3 album BRACE.
More than seventy Birds of Tokyo songs have featured on Triple J, making them one of the station’s three most played artists of this millennium. The band are also the only artist in history to win “Rock Work Of The Year” on five separate occasions at the APRA Awards.
The band’s most recent album Human Design produced a run of hit singles including “The Greatest Mistakes”, “Two Of Us” and Invictus Games anthem “Unbreakable”. Double platinum certified single “Good Lord” became a top 20 hit, while the album itself debuted at #1 on the ARIA Album Chart. Songs from Human Design received three nominations over two years at the APRA Music Awards, and also earned the band ARIA Award nominations for Best Group and Song of the Year for “Good Lord”.
Birds of Tokyo capped off 2020 by releasing Summer anthem “Weekend” ahead of a run of festival shows in the band’s home state of WA. Early 2021 saw the band play a handful of special concerts with three of Australia’s most prestigious Symphony Orchestras.
- Cold ChiselEARLY DAYS: 1973-77Beginning in Adelaide in 1973, it wasn’t until 1975 that Cold Chisel consolidated into its definitive line-up:Jimmy Barnes (vocals): born in Glasgow, Scotland
Ian Moss (guitar/vocals): born in Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Steve Prestwich (drums): born in Liverpool, UK
Phil Small (bass): born in Adelaide, South Australia
Don Walker (piano): born in Ayr, QueenslandCold Chisel moved to Sydney via Melbourne in 1976. Impassioned hard rock covers got the band gigs while Don Walker developed original songs. He zeroed in on the hopes, fears, anger and alienation, as well as the humour, of the working and student under-classes. Appreciative Cold Chisel armies formed. They followed the band from venue to venue, appearing just before Cold Chisel played and leaving directly afterwards. In late 1977, WEA (now Warner Music) signed the band to a modest contract, just in case there was a hit record somewhere in the mayhem.LIGHT A LONG FUSE: 1978-79The first two albums, Cold Chisel and Breakfast at Sweethearts presented the live classics “Khe Sanh”, “Home and Broken Hearted”, “One Long Day”, “Merry-Go-Round”, “Shipping Steel”, “Breakfast at Sweethearts” and “Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye)”. But the band was not happy with either album. Cold Chisel suffered from studio debutante nerves. Production difficulties on Breakfast left a bitter aftertaste. “Khe Sanh”, originally banned from commercial radio for its lyric content, subsequently became Australia’s ‘unofficial national anthem’ and the Australian cricket team’s victory song. In late 1979, they found studio satisfaction recording “Choirgirl” with young producer/engineer Mark Opitz.#1 WITH A BULLET: 1980/82The 1980 Top 10 single, “Cheap Wine”, previewed the album East, where all band members contributed songs. East peaked at #2 then stayed in the Top 10 for 26 weeks and in the chart for a record 63 weeks. “Choirgirl”, “Cheap Wine”, “Star Hotel”, “Rising Sun”, “Standing on the Outside” and “Four Walls” became embedded into our national identity. The double live Swingshift hit #1 in 1981. Two months later the band toured America. Live performances rattled headliners including Joe Walsh and Cheap Trick but East went missing from the charts before the band arrived and it never returned. Back in Australia, the band recorded Circus Animals, which was led-out by Barnes’ vehement “You Got Nothing I Want”. Walker’s songwriting advanced into the compelling, spleen-venting rock of “Taipan”, “Houndog” and “Letter to Alan”. The melodic uplift of Prestwich’s “Forever Now” and “When the War is Over” and Moss’ “Bow River” became radio staples. “Forever Now” made #4, Cold Chisel’s only Top 5 single.UP & DOWN & OUT: 19831983 began with a triumphant headlining performance at the Narara Music Festival before a jubilant crowd of 30,000. But by August the band had begun to splinter, with Prestwich the first to go and tensions between the other members reaching breaking point. Cold Chisel decided it was ‘time gentlemen please’ and recalled Prestwich to complete a final album and for a 26-date arena tour, The Last Stand. The album, Twentieth Century, added the title track, “Saturday Night”, “Painted Doll”, “No Sense”, “Hold Me Tight” and “Flame Trees” to the Cold Chisel paradigm. The album debuted #1 early 1984.CHISEL BY CHOICE: 1984/2010Jimmy Barnes hit the ground running with 1984’s Bodyswerve, the first of eight consecutive #1 albums (Barnes has now scored 12 individual # 1 albums), while Walker, Moss, Prestwich and Small took time to reaffirm themselves. In 1989, Don Walker formed Catfish and released Unlimited Address while Ian Moss debuted #1 with the album Matchbook, with many of the songs written by Walker. Steve Prestwich joined Little River Band for a period and developed his songwriting. Phil Small forsook music for family life. But radio and record buyers kept Cold Chisel as present tense and ultimately the band decided to work together again in 1995. In 1998, after traversing many speed humps a new album, The Last Wave of Summer, debuted #1 with 100,000 presales. The title track, “Yakuza Girls”, “Way Down” and “Things I Love in You” stood tall next to the band’s earlier work. The triumphant Last Wave arena tour drew 150,000. Lingering disputes within the band were resolved in 2003/4 by 16 Ringside shows that exhilarated band and audiences. “It’s been fun darlings,” said Barnes, “Let’s do it again sometime.” One-off performances followed: In 2005, Cold Chisel headlined the Melbourne benefit for Boxing Day tsunami victims. In December 2009, Cold Chisel played to 50,000 at the Sydney V8 Supercars event and in October 2010 the band headlined the Deni Ute Muster to a record-breaking crowd of 25,000.FOREVER NOW: 2011In 2010 Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, Don Walker, Steve Prestwich and Phil Small got together secretly and wrote and recorded a handful of songs and realised that the magic was there. With plans to continue performing and recording, the band was gutted in January 2011 when drummer Steve Prestwich passed away suddenly as a result of complications from a brain tumour. With Steve’s performances and some of his songs captured on tape, the band ultimately felt compelled to continue with the plans they had begun. Recording continued through May and June with drummer Charley Drayton.In July 2011, the band rolled out the biggest archival release in Australian music history, remastering all of their extensive catalogue and unearthing 56 new or rare live and studio recordings. It was the first time ever that the band had released their music digitally and it saw 8 of their albums hit the ARIA Top 100 Albums chart and numerous songs hit the singles chart. In a strange twist of fate, almost 35 years after it was first released “Khe Sanh” hit the Australian Top 40 for the first time!Cold Chisel then announced their most extensive tour in 30 years and when tickets for the Light The Nitro tour were released in early August, the band was overwhelmed by the massive public reaction, selling over 170,000 tickets in the first day and ultimately going on to sell over 325,000 tickets across Australia and New Zealand.But the stats were just the background… when the band stepped onstage for the first of the shows of the Light The Nitro tour the music did the talking. Across the country, the tour was met with unanimous raves reviews from the critics and the public alike. Meanwhile their compilation album, “The Best of Cold Chisel – All For You”, which featured 2 of their new recordings, debuted at #2 on the national ARIA Albums chart and is now officially triple platinum.NO PLANS / THE LIVE TAPES: 2012 – 2014In April 2012 Cold Chisel released its 7th studio album, No Plans, which was the album they started recording in 2010, and it features the last recorded performances of Steve Prestwich. No Plans was universally hailed by the critics and debuted at # 1 on the ARIA Australian Albums Chart and the iTunes album chart and immediately went gold. The band played four special shows around the release of the album, including headlining the 2012 Bluesfest festival in Byron Bay (the first Australian band to do so) and an intimate, one-night-only show at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion. In an Australian first, the Hordern Pavilion show was broadcast live to over 100 cinemas around Australia.In late 2013, Cold Chisel announced that after 35 years of working with Warner Music they were establishing their own label, Cold Chisel Music, with distribution by Universal Music Australia. Cold Chisel Music now releases all of the band’s existing catalogue of music, concert films and any new recordings. The first new release was The Live Tapes – Vol 1 – Live at the Hordern, documenting on film and audio the band’s blistering Hordern Pavilion show in April 2012 (subsequent releases Live Tapes – Vol 2 – Live At Bombay Rock 1979 was released in 2014 and Live Tapes – Vol 3 – Live at the Manly Vale Hotel, 1980 was released in late 2016).In January 2013 the band was honoured by Australia Post as part of the Australian Legend stamp series – the second time an Australian stamp has featured Cold Chisel. In November 2014 Cold Chisel’s ‘Khe Sanh’ was added to the National Film and Sound Archive’s Sounds of Australia registry of historically, culturally and aesthetically significant sound recordings.ONE NIGHT STAND: 2015In March 2015, Cold Chisel returned to Adelaide, where it all began for them 40 years earlier, and played a special one-off show as part of the Clipsal 500, attracting a record Clipsal crowd of 35,000+ for their blistering performance. The band also entered the studio across February and March to begin work on their 8th studio album. The resulting album, The Perfect Crime, was released in October 2015 and debuted at # 1 on the ARIA Top 100 Australia Albums Chart. Receiving huge critical acclaim, the album was immediately certified Gold.In May 2015, Cold Chisel announced two special shows under the banner The ‘Last Stand’ of Sydney’s Entertainment Centre, to mark the closing of the iconic Sydney venue in December 2015. Referencing its legendary 1983 Last Stand tour, the announcement captured the fascination and excitement of music fans across the country – selling all 20,000 tickets within minutes.So overwhelming was the demand for these shows that the band responded by announcing its One Night Stand national tour, which had 18 stops across Australia and New Zealand, concluding at Sydney’s Entertainment Centre in December with three shows that literally brought the house down.LOOKING FORWARD: 2016 – 2019At the APRA Awards in April 2016, Cold Chisel received the prestigious Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music. And Don Walker’s acceptance speech said it all so much better than all of these words: http://www.coldchisel.com/don-walker-acceptance-speech-cold-chisel-ted-albert-award-for-outstanding-services-to-australian-music.On June 23, 2017 Cold Chisel announced two special shows, one in Newcastle at the inaugural Newcastle 500 Supercar race on Saturday November 25 and the other at the Derwent Entertainment Centre on Thursday November 23.The band also announced the November 2017 release of their biggest live release ever – The ‘Last Stand’ of The Sydney Entertainment Centre – The Live Tapes Vol 4 – 32 songs drawn from the band’s last two nights at the Sydney Entertainment Centre before the iconic venue was demolished.In late 2018, Cold Chisel released their iconic Best Of compilation ‘All For You’ on vinyl for the very first time – helping push the 4 x Platinum album back into the ARIA Albums Chart Top 5.October 2019 saw Cold Chisel announce their ninth studio album ‘Blood Moon’ alongside the 15-date national ‘Blood Moon Tour 2020’, which was their first ever outdoor Summer tour. The critically acclaimed album dropped in December 2019 and debuted at #1 on the ARIA Album Chart (breaking the record for the Australian band with most time between their first #1 and their latest – 38 years from 1981 until 2019). The sold out tour saw Cold Chisel play some of their biggest shows ever (24,000 people in Geelong) and they became the first band to play the huge (and sold out) Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta (25,000 people).“A blood moon is a rare lunar eclipse, where the sun, the earth and the moon all briefly align before they return to their own orbits. It’s a lot like Cold Chisel,” says frontman Jimmy Barnes. “These days we all have our own careers and our own lives – so everything has to be right for us to get in a room and say, ‘we’re ready to do this’.”- – - – - – - – - -With accumulated album sales of almost 7 million and an unquenchable demand for tickets whenever they tour, the Australian public continues to reaffirm its deep connection with the inimitable Cold Chisel.COLD CHISEL: RECENT HIGHLIGHTS6.9 Million albums sold in Australia
ARIA Hall of Fame Inductees
2011 Massive archival and digital release – 8 albums entering the ARIA Top 100 Album Chart.
2011 Light The Nitro tour sold 325,000 tickets (biggest ever tour by an Australian-based band). 170,000 tickets sold in the first day alone.
2011 All For You – The Best of Cold Chisel album has remained in the ARIA Top 100 for over 355 weeks. Officially 4 x Platinum.
2012 Album No Plans debuted at # 1 on ARIA Top 100 Australia Albums Chart. It achieves Gold accreditation.
2013 Cold Chisel honoured with its own stamp as part of the ‘Australian Legends’ Stamp Series
2014 ‘Khe Sanh’ added to the National Film and Sound Archive’s Sounds of Australia registry of historically, culturally and aesthetically significant sound recordings
2015 March: Cold Chisel played to a record 35,000+ people at the Clipsal 500, Adelaide
2015 May: Cold Chisel sold 20,000 tickets within minutes to their The ‘Last Stand’ of Sydney’s Entertainment Centre shows, to mark the closure of the iconic venue. The band soon announces its One Night Stand tour, playing one show only at 18 stops across Australia and New Zealand. Cold Chisel becomes the first Australian band to headline (and sell-out) the famous Hanging Rock at Mt Macedon, Victoria.
2015 October: The band’s 8th studio album The Perfect Crime debuted at # 1 on ARIA Top 100 Australia Albums Chart. Receiving incredible critical acclaim, the album was immediately certified Gold.
2016 At the APRA Awards, Cold Chisel receives the prestigious Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music
2019 December: The band’s 9th studio album ‘Blood Moon’ debuted at #1 on the ARIA Album Chart – breaking the record for the Australian band with most time between their first #1 and their latest – 38 years from 1981 until 2019.
Early 2020: Cold Chisel played some of their biggest shows ever on their first national outdoor Summer tour, the sold out ‘Blood Moon Tour 2020’.
Songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Gotye is the music-making mantle of one-man band, Wally de Backer. A few years ago his indie album, Like Drawing Blood, became an underground classic and saw Gotye collect the 2007 ARIA Award for Best Male Artist.
The multi-platinum follow up – Making Mirrors – sold over 2 million copies worldwide and was a Top 10 album in over 25 countries. It won multiple ARIA Awards and spawned the hit single ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ (feat. Kimbra). The single has sold nearly 15 million copies worldwide, has been viewed over 1.2 billion times on YouTube, and was the most streamed song globally on Spotify in 2013. It was also the #1 iTunes single in over 50 countries and spent eight consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.
The success of Making Mirrors led to sold out shows around the world in major venues including Radio City Music Hall in New York and the Hammersmith Apollo in London. After a mammoth 2012, Gotye brought his world tour to a close performing a handful of special homecoming shows back in Australia throughout December.
To cap off an incredible 18 months, Wally de Backer was awarded three Grammys for Best Alternative Music Album, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and the prestigious Record of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards ceremony in L.A.
Recently, Gotye won the Helpmann Award for Best Australian Contemporary Music Concert for his “Gotye Presents a Tribute to Jean-Jacques Perrey” show at the 2018 Sydney Festival, and is currently busy working away in his studio in New York City.
- Midnight Oil
Midnight Oil are more than just a rock ‘n’ roll band. From the northern beaches of Sydney to the streets of Manhattan, they have stopped traffic, inflamed passions, inspired fans, challenged the concepts of “business as usual” and broken new ground.
Seeing Midnight Oil in full flight is to experience the transcendent, kinetic power of live rock ‘n’ roll. They leave you inspired to live life more passionately and to Get Involved.
Everything about the band is uncompromising, but their greatest achievement is that they are, night after night and album after album, a great rock ‘n’ roll band. For all of the incredible growth, ambition and experimentation that Midnight Oil have evidenced, the sound and the fury and the spirit of their earliest recordings are still there 40 years later, on tracks like “White Skin Black Heart” and “Say Your Prayers”.
Rob Hirst (drums, vocals) and Jim Moginie (guitars, keys & vocals) started making music together at school in 1972. They gradually evolved into Midnight Oil, with singer Peter Garrett joining in 1975 and Martin Rotsey (guitar), coming on board in the following year. Founding bass player, Andrew “Bear” James, was replaced by Peter “Giffo” Gifford from 1980 until 1987 when Bones Hillman joined the band.
Before they took it global, Midnight Oil’s early spiritual home was the Royal Antler Hotel, Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches. It was there that ‘the Oils’ fan base swelled from a handful to a thousand – in a space intended for half that number. Between 1976 and the very early 80’s, these five young men played out this blistering ritual almost 1000 times. At all of these shows the distance and the difference between audience and band was indistinguishable. From their earliest days, Midnight Oil was writing songs about who and what they saw around them.
The eponymous debut album, smartly nicknamed “The Blue Meanie” (equal parts a reference to the Beatles and the snarl of the sound), was released in 1978 and was a collection of primal, spiky rock ‘n’ roll. Like so many great debut albums it spoke directly about the milieu in which it was born (Sydney surf/suburbs culture) and was an in-studio approximation of their live set. The song “Run By Night” became an instant classic and despite receiving next to no commercial radio support, the album cracked the Australian Top 50. Midnight Oil was on its way.
A second album, “Head Injuries”, followed the next year featuring the singles “Cold Cold Change” and “Back on the Borderline” – the geography was a little broader, the subject matter a little more universal and the sound a little closer to their live energy.
Shortly after Head Injuries Andrew “Bear” James retired and the bass was picked up by Peter “Giffo” Gifford. Recalibrating their sound as they would do many times, the band’s new line-up released the 12″ “Bird Noises” EP (featuring “No Time For Games” and the sublime surf instrumental “Wedding Cake Island”).
Their ambitions growing, the band decamped to England to record the “Place Without A Postcard” album with legendary producer Glyn Johns (The Faces, The Who, The Rolling Stones). A dense, claustrophobic gem, “Place Without A Postcard” is arguably Midnight Oil’s first great album – defiantly articulating a broader Australian world view on tracks like “Armistice Day”, “Don’t Wanna Be The One” and the epic “Lucky Country”.
By the time “Place Without A Postcard” was released in 1981, the Australian pub rock scene was at its zenith. Suburban beer barns held 2,000 punters and the Oils were filling them nightly, creating rock ‘n’ roll chaos. Being an Oils fan wasn’t a part-time or passive experience.
Throughout all this the band wrote their own rules; refusing to appear on popular TV shows like Countdown and shunning all the ‘music biz’ norms. At the same time, Midnight Oil was becoming known for their support of environmental and social justice causes. The singular trail that they blazed set the tone for everything that followed.
In 1982, their fourth album “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1” turned everything on its head. Recorded as the band lived on the breadline in London in the shadow of the nuclear arms race and produced by an enthusiastic, irreverent 21 year old Nick Launay, (PIL, Gang of 4), 10-1 is rock ‘n’ roll paranoia at its finest. They deconstructed their sound and reassembled it into complex agitrock anthems like “Power And The Passion” where drums play against drum machines while thick warm waves of acoustic guitar lay a bed for the immensely unsettling “US Forces”. The lyrics captured a band who would not be boxed in by geography, precedent, corporations, government or the expectations of anyone. As Midnight Oil expanded their creative ambitions they also expanded their audience. The album was a monster success in Australia, staying in the Australians charts in excess of 200 weeks. It was also popular on US college radio and across pockets of Europe – as the band expanded its ambitions it also expanded its reach.
“Red Sails in the Sunset” came next. Recorded in Japan it took sonic experimentation and polemics to new and extreme levels. It was released in 1983 and loomed large on the charts through 1984 against the backdrop of singer Peter Garrett making a run for the Australian Senate on a Nuclear Disarmament platform. While Garrett focused on ‘real’ politics, Red Sails saw drummer Rob Hirst coming to the fore, assuming lead vocal duties on “When The Generals Talk” and “Kosciusko”.
In 1985, Midnight Oil performed an unforgettable live set on Sydney’s Me-mel (Goat Island) to celebrate the 10th birthday of music station 2JJ before reacting to the experimental extremes of their two previous albums with the fierce, streamlined EP “Species Deceases”, featuring enduring fan favourites like “Hercules” and “Progress”. This was a reset that suggested a new beginning.
That new beginning happened in 1986 when Midnight Oil was invited to tour through some of Australia’s most remote communities with legendary Aboriginal group, the Warumpi Band. The ‘Blackfella/Whitefella’ tour was a transformative experience that exposed the band to the austere beauty of the desert landscape, the inspiring creativity of the indigenous people and the deplorable conditions in which so many of those people existed.
The band returned to Sydney and began work on their global breakthrough “Diesel and Dust”. The singles lifted from that album like “The Dead Heart”, “Put Down That Weapon”, “Dreamworld” and, of course, “Beds Are Burning” brought Midnight Oil to new audiences around the globe. The band toured internationally through ‘87 and ’88 driving the album to huge critical and commercial success. It ultimately sold more than 6 million copies and earned them a Grammy nomination although the band declined to attend the ceremony in order to honour their commitment to a political event at home.
Among numerous other honours, “Beds Are Burning” is included in the U.S. Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame as one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock ’n’ Roll”. “Diesel & Dust” was recently listed at #1 in the definitive book “100 Best Australian Albums”.
1990’s “Blue Sky Mining” saw tracks like “One Country,” “Blue Sky Mine,” and “Forgotten Years” bring an international orientation to the band’s song writing without losing any of their characteristically Australian voice. While touring the US after the album’s release, the band drew attention to the environmental disaster caused by an Exxon oil tanker that ran aground in Alaska. They hired a flatbed truck and played a blistering guerrilla set outside the Exxon offices in New York, stopping traffic and putting the issue on front pages worldwide. “Blue Sky Mining” was another globally successful album, charting top 5 in many parts of Europe and top 20 in the U.S.. Back home it won the band five ARIA Awards and was certified five times platinum.
Midnight Oil’s creative evolution continued with 1993’s “Earth and Sun and Moon” with its emphasis on melody, textures and storytelling. They toured the world on the WOMAD festival and were one of the first international artists to play in South Africa after Nelson Mandela came to power. These new experiences influenced 1996’s atmospheric album, “Breathe” which they recorded in Sydney and New Orleans. Then, in typically perverse fashion, the band veered away from these warm, dark, ambient textures to create arguably their most angry and confronting release – 1998’s “Redneck Wonderland”. In Australia, anti-migrant and anti-Aboriginal sentiment was being inflamed for political gain and Midnight Oil’s visceral response pulled no punches.
In 2000 the band performed to an audience of over a billion people at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games revealing clothing emblazoned with the word, ‘SORRY’; thereby provoking global discussion about the apology due to stolen generations of Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their families between the 1890’s and 1970’s. That year they also recorded the excellent “Say Your Prayers”, an anthem for the East Timorese, which appeared on a benefit release and was stripped onto their 11th and final studio album, “Capricornia”. Aptly enough, this swag of songs drew heavily from their deep affection and appreciation of their Australian homeland.
In December 2002 Peter Garrett left the band to pursue a full time political career. He was elected in 2004 as a federal Member of Parliament where he would eventually serve as a cabinet Minister in various portfolios including School Education and Environment. Nonetheless in 2005 the Oils regrouped to headline the “Waveaid” tsunami benefit concert for over 50,000 people at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In 2009 the band topped a massive bill at “Sound Relief” at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where over 80,000 fans joined them in raising millions of dollars for victims of Australian fires and floods. Apart from these two iconic stadium appearances for charity (and a handful of intimate ‘warmup’ gigs immediately prior to each of them) the members played together in The Break and separately in other bands for over a decade. Then in May 2016 they made headlines with a surprise announcement via Facebook that they would be “getting back together for some gigs next year“.
On February 17, 2017 the band held a press conference on Sydney Harbour to announce that they would be playing shows around the world from April through November of that year. “The Great Circle” tour was accompanied by the release of three new box sets; one containing all their existing LP’s and EP’s, another containing all their existing CD’s and videos, plus a new 4 CD/8 DVD treasure trove of previously unreleased and rare material called “The Overflow Tank”.
As the tour name implied, “The Great Circle 2017” officially began with a surfside pub gig in Sydney and then looped around Brazil, North America, Europe and New Zealand before climaxing with a lap of Australia starting in the outback then heading around the coast . Over the course of those 7 months Midnight Oil played 77 gigs in 16 countries to over half a million fans. The shows shunned showbiz norms with the band rotating over 106 songs through their sets dropping apt cover versions and some surprise performances of whole albums to ensure every gig was truly unique.
Of course as “The Great Circle 2017” circumnavigated the globe it also drew attention to various issues affecting the planet. From a gig aboard Greenpeace flagship “Rainbow Warrior” in Rio De Janeiro’s harbour to an eco-friendly festival in the Czech Republic and Great Barrier Reef benefit shows in Cairns and Perth the tour saw Midnight Oil combining militance and music in their trademark manner.
The circle finally came to a close back where it all began – in their hometown where they played two epic shows. The venue? The Domain – Australia’s traditional home of political debate. The first date? November 11, known to some as Armistice Day.
Those who were there will never forget these climactic gigs. Thankfully they were recorded and filmed – and exactly a year later they were released as a movie and album called “Armistice Day: Live At The Domain, Sydney”, which debuted at #1 on the ARIA DVD Charts, and top 5 on the ARIA Album Charts.
In 2019, Midnight Oil will headline the world’s most remote music festival, the Big Red Bash – marking their first major Australian music festival appearance in 22 years. The band also announced a string of European shows for Summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
2020 saw the band release their first new body of work in nearly 20 years with the mini-album ‘The Makarrata Project’. All songs on the record share a strong focus on Indigenous reconciliation, and each features collaborations with the band’s First Nations friends. The release seeks to elevate public awareness of ulurustatement.org/the-statement. The first single ‘Gadigal Land’ (feat. Dan Sultan, Joel Davison, Kaleena Briggs & Bunna Lawrie) went straight to #1 on the iTunes chart within hours of its release, and its writers Bunna Lawrie, Joel Davison and Rob Hirst were nominated for the prestigious APRA Song of the Year at the 2021 APRA Music Awards. The mini-album itself debuted #1 on the ARIA Album Chart, becoming their first studio album to do so since ‘Blue Sky Mining’ over three decades ago, and their fifth overall chart topper. The band has also announced that 2021 will see a new Midnight Oil album.
In early 2021 Midnight Oil and First Nations collaborators Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, Troy Cassar-Daley, Leah Flanagan and Tasman Keith toured across the country with Makarrata Live. Also joining the band on onstage were backing vocalist Liz Stringer and saxophonist Andy Bickers. Coloured Stone’s legendary frontman, Bunna Lawrie, and respected Pitjantjatjara elder, Frank Yamma, also performed as part of Makarrata Live at WOMADelaide. Due to Covid19 restrictions this was the first major Australian tour in over a year, and sought to elevate The Uluru Statement From The Heart through performances of songs from The Makarrata Project as well as iconic Midnight Oil songs of reconciliation.
Sadly on November 7th 2020, Bones Hillman passed away in his home in Milwaukee after a battle with cancer. He was the bassist with the beautiful voice, the band member with the wicked sense of humour, and a brilliant musical comrade. Bones joined Midnight Oil way back in 1987 after stints in various Kiwi bands, most notably, The Swingers. He played and sang on every Midnight Oil recording since Blue Sky Mining and played thousands of gigs as part of the Oils. He will be deeply missed.
Rob Hirst – Drums + Vocals
Martin Rotsey – Guitar
Peter Garrett – Lead Vocals
Jim Moginie – Guitar, Keyboards + Vocals
Bones Hillman – Bass + Vocals (1987 to 2020)
Andrew James – Bass (Founding member to 1980)
Peter Gifford – Bass + Vocals (1980 to 1987)
Gary Morris – Manager (1976 to 2013)
- Missy Higgins
Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins has enjoyed phenomenal success with her irresistible melodies and ‘arrow through the heart’ lyrics, delivered by a striking voice that clearly means it.
After touring the globe with her undeniable songs and unforgettable live performances, Missy’s highly acclaimed ‘The Sound Of White’ (ARIA Album Of The Year featuring the hits ‘Scar’, ’Ten Days’ and ’The Special Two’), ‘On A Clear Night’ (featuring North American top 20 airplay hit ‘Where I Stood’ plus Australian #1 single ‘Steer’) and ‘The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle’ (featuring ‘Everyone’s Waiting’ and ‘Hello Hello’) have sold over two millions copies globally.
Missy appeared twice on the cover of Australia’s Rolling Stone magazine. She is a five-time chart topper and nine-time ARIA Award winner (Australia’s Grammys).
After seven years of touring and recording, Missy quietly took a break from music for several years from 2009 to pursue other interests including a course in Indigenous Studies, as well as making her acting debut in Australian film ‘Bran Nue Dae’.
In September 2014, Missy released a unique book/covers album called ‘OZ’ to rave reviews. In recent years she has also struck a chord with standalone singles ‘Oh Canada’ (2016), inspired by the tragic images of infant Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi and ‘Torchlight’ (2017), a powerful, emotive ballad written for Australian film ‘Don’t Tell’. ‘Torchlight’ won Best Original Song Composed for the Screen at the 2017 APRA Screen Music Awards.
In 2018, Missy announced her long awaited fifth studio album, ‘Solastalgia’, with its lead single ‘Futon Couch’ becoming her biggest radio success in a decade. Missy was also confirmed as the main support on Ed Sheeran’s ÷ Tour – the largest series of concerts in Australian history with nearly 1 million tickets sold.
Missy capped off the year with the release of ‘The Special Ones’ – a Best Of Collection that is a primer to one of Australian music’s strongest modern catalogues;. The album features four previously unreleased tracks including new single ‘Arrows’ and the previously unheard demo of ‘All For Believing’ that set her career in motion when she won Triple J Unearthed all those years ago. Alongside the album release, Missy was also the focus of an ABC TV special ‘Missy & Friends Live’ – a celebration of her career with special guests including Peter Garrett and Kasey Chambers as part of Ausmusic Month.
In 2019 Missy embarked on the Coming Home Tour, a national co-headlining tour of Australia with John Butler Trio+ at venues including Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, as well as two sold-out shows at the Sydney Opera House forecourt. She also wrote a number of original songs for the acclaimed ABC TV show ‘Total Control’. The show became the highest rated new Australian TV drama of the year, and the track ‘Edge of Something’ was nominated for Best Original Song Composed for the Screen at the 2020 APRA Screen Music Awards.
Missy began 2020 by releasing new single ‘Carry You’ written by Tim Minchin for his TV show ‘Upright’, which peaked at #5 on iTunes and was featured on the ARIA Album Chart #1 compilation ‘Music From The Home Front’. The song was also nominated for Song of the Year at the 2021 APRA Music Awards. Missy capped off the year with the release of standalone single ‘When The Machine Starts’.
- Paul Mac
Mac is one of the leading figures in Australian electronic music. He is a composer, songwriter, musician and producer. Paul is a conservatorium graduate and a multi ARIA Award winner for his work with underground dance pioneers Itch-E & Scratch-E and for his own solo work. The list of artists with whom he’s collaborated over recent years includes Sia, Kylie, Daniel Johns, and Ngaiire.
Paul scores music for films, TV and theatre and he has previously worked with Bangarra on the acclaimed productions – Blak and Miyagan from OUR land people stories.
Credits for Paul’s remix duo, Stereogamous, include remixes for LCD Soundsystem, Rufus Du Sol, George Michael and Kylie and he has also released an album under the moniker, The Dissociatives, with Daniel Johns.
In addition to his multiple ARIA awards and APRA songwriting award, Paul’s career highlights include Australian Dance Music Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Dance and Producer Of The Year.
Most recently, Paul released a new album – which, unlike the autobiographical approach to his first three solo albums, was a series of compositions that began outside of Paul’s head. Found sounds, an inspired speech, and improvised recording sessions are some of the starting points for “Mesmerism” released in May 2019. The album received critical acclaim and is nominated for the prestigious 2019 Australian Music Prize.
Paul is currently studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music doing a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition. He also has an original theatre show in development with playwright Lachlan Philpott, titled ‘The Rise and Fall of St George’ and an ‘In Progress’ Concert of the work was performed at the 2019 Sydney Mardi Gras Festival.
- Peter Garrett
- The Presets
The Presets took shape in 2003 when Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes first met at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. They were quickly recognised for their ability to fuse elements of dance music with an energy more akin to rock’n’roll. After signing with Modular Recordings, the band released two EPs and an album Beams (2005).
In 2008 The Presets released the chart topping Apocalypso, selling in excess of Triple Platinum sales in Australia and featuring four hit singles, including the classic ‘My People’. Setting new standards for dance music in Australia, The Presets went on to win 5 ARIA awards (and 2 ARIA Artisan Awards) including Album of the Year, as well as the J Award and FBI SMAC Award for Album of The Year. Kim and Julian also shared the coveted Songwriter of The Year Award at the 2009 APRA Awards.
Pacifica was released in 2012, featuring Rolling Stone Magazine’s Song Of The Year, ‘Ghosts’. Pacifica was also nominated for an ARIA, shortlisted for the AMP Award, the J Award, and was Album of the Year in the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph, and Electronic Album of the Year in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Presets have been recognised worldwide for their dynamic live performances, playing hundreds of shows domestically and internationally, including key slots at renowned international music festivals such as Glastonbury, Coachella, SXSW, Exit, Melt and Splendour In The Grass.
The Presets returned in 2018 with their long awaited fourth album, HI VIZ, which debuted at #1 on the iTunes album chart within hours of its release and was nominated for two ARIA Awards as well as the prestigious Australian Music Prize. The record spawned triple j Hottest 100 favourites “Do What You Want” and “Martini”, with the latter nominated for Best Song at the FBi SMAC Awards in 2019.
The band also released their expansive RAKA EP – a collaborative record with Golden Features, led by the euphoric single ‘Paradise’ in 2019. The track became triple j’s most played song shortly after its release and charted in the Hottest 100 of 2019.
In addition to their work together Julian has guested with artists including Flight Facilities and Steve Angello as well as scoring pieces for the Sydney Dance Company. Kim is a prominent DJ, produced albums for artists like DMA’s, Northeast Party House and co-owns the buzzing EDM indie label Here To Hell.
Silverchair are one of the most acclaimed and successful bands in Australian music history.
The group’s members were all born in the Newcastle surf suburb of Merewether. Singer/guitarist Daniel Johns and drummer Ben Gillies started making music together at primary school and schoolmate Chris Joannou later joined on bass. They got their big break in mid-1994 when they won a national demo competition conducted by SBS TV show Nomad and triple j.
Between 1994 and present day, Silverchair achieved phenomenal global success accumulating album sales in excess of six million across Frogstomp, Freak Show, Diorama, Neon Ballroom, and Young Modern, which became the fastest selling of their extraordinary career.
Silverchair have won 21 ARIA Awards – more than any other artist in history – and they have enjoyed more #1 albums than any other Australian band. Daniel Johns is also the only person to ever win the prestigious APRA Songwriter Of The Year Award on three separate occasions.