Blog Archives

MULLUMBIMBY MUSIC FESTIVAL PREVIEW

Drive to Mullumbimby on any given day and you will find buskers on sitar, buskers on guitar and kids out-busking them all. There’ll be a shirtless bloke in a kilt on his mobile, a nice neat Nana off to the doctor and a seedpod of single mums outside Santos health food store sharing tips on crystal deodorant. There’s pie eating workmen, emo teenagers skipping school and eating chips on the pavement, a hot pink mariachi man hitching a ride home and some disheveled rock star buying his groceries. In ‘Mullum’ the whitened teeth brigade hold court with the toothless, and everywhere people are talking, laughing, hugging, complaining, gathered in groups, dotted in shops, drinking coffee, playing drums: it’s a small town symphony of noise. This is a vibrant, flawed gloriously messed up cacophony of community. Mullumbimby needs to be heritage listed. They just don’t do small towns like this anywhere else in Australia!

Once a year the town of Mullumbimby opens her arms to the world and invites them to experience one of the most unique music events in the country: The Mullum Music Festival. This year, from Thursday to Sunday 25 – 28 November, venues throughout the town host over 100 performances, with festival goers able to amble from gig to gig through the streets of Mullumbimby.  It’s a festival for everybody with men, women, children and clowns, able to participate in this demographically and stylistically inclusive event.

One of the big drawcards of this year’s festival is Washington. Megan Washington was unearthed by Triple J only a year ago and since then she and her band have been on a non-stop round of performances culminating in the recent Aria Awards where she scored six nominations and won two awards in the categories of Best Female Artist and Breakthrough Artist. The festival’s program promises an all singing, all dancing affair with costumes and cupcakes and plenty of suprises. I think she’s going to be huge and this may be one of the last chances we have to see her in such an intimate environment.  Here she is talking about the inspiration for her album I Believe You Liar.

I had hoped to have the director of the festival, Glenn Wright, into the studio for a chat but with only two days to go before lift-off, Glenn didn’t make it. But he very generously donated a day pass to the festival for one of the BayFM subscribers and that was one by Jay. Congrats and thanks to Glenn for your generosity.

If you’re a fan of reggae, rock steady and ska then Sydney group King Tide are for you. They’ll perform at the festival on Saturday night. I particiularly like the track ROCKERS STYLE. Just to prove the diversity of the festival’s line-up we followed with Nashville singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier with MARCH 11, 1962 from her latest album, Foundling. Produced by Michael Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, it’s an amazingly honest album that draws inspiration from her own life. Achingly beautiful. Here’s an amateur video taken at a performance in London June 2010:

We followed with Heath Cullen & The 45s with BREAK MY HEART, which might just have a back-story of its own. Heath is a highly regarded guitarist having graced all of Lucie Thorne’s most recent recordings, amongst others. In this video clip he’s performing with the 45’s: Jay McMahon, drums; David Hibbert, guitar; Robyn Martin, bass; Jason Coman, guitar; and Pete Wild, keyboards.

Tijuana Cartel are amazing. They’re the band to see if you want to get up and dance. It’s a wild combo of funk, hip-hop, reggae, flamenco with a Middle Eastern flavour. We played an oldie but a goodie of theirs: RISE UP from their debut album Frequent Flyers Redeemed.

A late addition to the festival is UK singer Gemma Ray. Here’s a brilliant video clip of the track 100MPH (IN 2ND GEAR). Directed by Miranda Bowen and edited by Leo Scott its got an almost Lynchian sensibility. Love the song, love the video.


One of my favourites is the gorgeous sister act, Scarlett Affection. Nerida and Melia will be performing at the festival in their own right and will also be supporting students from their new contemporary music school. A little birdy told me that there is some amazing talent coming out of the Scarlett School, so I’m really looking forward to that performance on Saturday in the Civic Hall. One of my favourite songs of theirs is  ROMANTIC from their album Our Sweet Ambush.

Sunshine Coast based Oka are a genre defying group who know how to get a room up and moving. MUSIC MAKES ME HAPPY showcases the throbbing, earthy beats of tribal music for the digital age.

Pieta Brown comes straight from the American heartland. Her father is renowned folk singer Greg Brown whose songs have been covered by Willie Nelson among others.  Described as a cross between Loretta Lyn, P.J. Harvey and Cat Power, she’s one of the highlights of the festival. Here she sings HEY RUN from the Remember The Sun album.

Jazz fans won’t be disappointed as the much admired Vince Jones returns  to Mullum. We played his very smooth rendition of AUTO FREAKS and followed with another brilliant local artist, Gyan, with a track from her latest album SuperfragiisticallyWWW.

It was great to be able to speak to two of the artists appearing at the festival, live in the studio. First up, comedian, acrobat, juggler extraordaire Joel Salom had me in stitches as we talked about his gig as MC of the opening night on Thursday and his solo slot on Friday night. Here he is performing with Circus Oz and he did suggest that there may be some ‘accidental’ stripping at Mullum as well.

The opening night of the festival not only features Joel as MC but it features an amazing line-up of talent: Pieta Brown, The Rhythm Hunters, Nano Stern, Flap!, Dick & Christa Hughes and Mama Kin. Quickly gaining a reputation for an act not to be missed, Mama Kin’s music is powerful stuff. We featured I’M GONNA DO IT, from her album Beat and Holler.

Local musician and producer, Christian Pyle, also paid us a visit and it was a pleasure speaking to such a down to earth artist who is clearly very talented. We played two of the songs from his solo album, Nothing Left to BurnRAY OF YOUR SUNSHINE and TREES & STONE. Christian will be peforming on Saturday and, as well, he’ll front up with the band Ghost Mountain on Sunday. Christian told me that with Ghost Mountain they’re a very seasoned band who all bring their own influences to the music. We played EVERYTHING’S OK from the album Art Without Audience.

Christian also produces an array of artists out of his studio in Goonengerry. One of them happens to be one of my favourites of the moment. M. Jack Bee is a storyteller par excellence and his latest album, In Loops is a beauty. I particularly like the track  MOTH. This video clip was filmed by Christian in his studio when they were recording the song. Watch to the end when Christian makes his own appearance. Let’s call it a Hitchcock moment!  

Also returning to the festival, and all the way from Darwin, is Leah Flanagan.  I saw her perform last year and she was brilliant.  She plays a mean ukelele, so for me that just makes her show compulsory. Another group returning to Mullum are the equally talented Tinpan Orange. Their latest album THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE is a great indication of the breadth of their talent.

How good is Jordie Lane? His song FELL INTO ME from his album Sleeping Patterns,  is on constantly at my house at the moment. He’s performing on Saturday and Sunday at the festival and also on Sunday with Jen Cloher, which should make a hot double-bill. Here he is talking about how he recorded his previous album, Lovers Ride, for under $A150! Incredible.

We finished the show on a suitably alternative note with Mojo Juju & The Snake Oil Merchants. What can you say about these all-round performers who meld jazz, rock and punk into a vaudevillian show that is pure entertainment.  Here they are performing CATCH A FIRE at another of the great festivals that we host up here in the Northern Rivers, The Byron Blues Fest:

Thanks so much to everyone at the Mullum Music Festival, in particular my guests Joel Salom and Christian Pyle.

Next week, I’m rec0gnising World Aids Day (December 1) with SONGS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY. Now before you all start leaving me messages about HIV and AIDS not being a gay disease. I know that! But let’s recognise that its the gay community that have been at the forefront of political activism, not only fighting discrimination but also promoting understanding and support for ALL  people suffering from this dreadful malady. So let’s celebrate the gays! Any suggestions? Let’s concentrate on the song, rather than the singer. Just because Dusty Springfield was gay doesn’t make The Look of Love a gay song, now does it? Hmmmm.

So, while you’re pondering that list, check out this week’s:

I Believe You Liar – I Believe You Liar, Washington

Rockers Style – RoOTS POP Reggae, King Tide

March 11, 1962 – The Foundling, Mary Gauthier

Break My Heart – Heath Cullen

Rise Up – Frequent Flyers Redeemed, Tijuana Cartel

100 mph (in 2nd Gear) – Lights Out Zoltar!, Gemma Ray

Romantic – Our Sweet Ambush, Scarlett Affection

Music Makes Me Happy – Music Makes Me Happy, OKA

Hey Run – Remember the Sun, Pieta Brown

Auto Freaks – Moving Through Taboos, Vince Jones

WWW. – Superfragilistically, Gyan

Ray of Your Sunshine – Nothing Left to Burn, Christain Pyle

I’m Gonna Do It – Beat And Holler, Mama Kin

Trees & Stone – Nothing Left to Burn, Christian Pyle

Everything’s OK – Art Without Audience, Ghost Mountain

Moth – In Loops, M. Jack Bee

Tipsy Tango – Making Waves, Leah Flannigan

The Bottom Of The Lake – The Bottom Of The Lake, TinPan Orange

Fell Into Me – Sleeping Patterns, Jordie Lane

Catch a Fire – Sellin’ You Salvation, Mojo Juju and The Snake Oil Merchants

Next week:  SONGS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

HEAT

The mercury’s rising, summer is here and I’m feeling hot, hot, hot. So, it’s time to  get the sarongs out, start mixing up a marghertia or two and celebrate our steamy weather. Yes, folks this week’s show was a sizzler.

We opened with THE HEAT IS ON from American soul and funk group, The Isley Brothers, released in 1975 on the album of the same name and then it was Buster Poindexter, otherwise known as David Johansen of the New York Dolls. His cover of Arrow’s HOT, HOT, HOT apparently haunts him to this day. Well Dave, thats what happens when you record a hit pop tune. Just be happy with the royalties. He’s not looking too unhappy in this clip:

If the weather doesn’t deliver, you can always find other ways to raise the temperature. Ask Martha and the Vandellas who gave us one of the greatest intros in pop music with their song HEATWAVE. The high octane James Brown knows a thing or two about the topic of his tune,  BODY HEAT. Here’s a clip from The Lost James Brown Tapes, a 60 minute video tape available on DVD.

One of my all time favourite films is Napoleon Dynamite and the soundtrack to the film is great too. Check out one of the signature tunes, from the film, CANNED HEAT from Jamiroquai:

Every now and again I like to throw a bit of contemporary pop into the mix and this week it was Katy Perry with HOT ‘N’ COLD and we followed with one of my favourite dance tracks, Adam Freeland remixing the wonderful Sarah Vaughan’s version of  FEVER.

Anyone remember glam rock? Marc Bolan & T-Rex were up next with one of the best examples of this genre: HOT LOVE. Check out this clip from Top of the Pops, 1971. Ah go-go girls, whatever happened to them? Well, the ones in this clip are probably all grandmothers now. Scary.

More roaming down memory lane: Style Council with LONG HOT SUMMER and then it was The Triffids’ dreamy and disturbing TOO HOT TO MOVE, TOO HOT TO THINK. The song reflects on our hot, Australian summer nights.

The idiosyncratic, and highly influential, Captain Beefheart divides people. I’m a fan, especially of our next song, HOT HEAD. The Captain takes the usual hot-love cliches to deliriously literal extremes with his funky brand of the Blues.

Ella Fitzgerald reckons it’s TOO DARN HOT and Prince Buster agrees. His delicious piece of Jamaican Ska, TOO HOT had me up and grooving in the studio. And then it was time for one of the highlights of the recent Mullumbimby Music Festival, Oka with THAT’S HOT.

I can never listen to Glenn Frey’s THE HEAT IS ON without conjuring up the film BEVERLY HILLS COP. So to put it into context, here’s the official video, using footage from the film, starring Eddie Murphy:

Another favourite of mine is John Fogarty, this time with the wonderful gospel group The Fairfield Four, singing A HUNDRED AND TEN IN THE SHADE from Fogarty’s Blue Moon Swamp album. Great album and worth a listen if you’re a Fogarty or Creedence fan. Here’s a clip to whet your appetite:

Of course we had to include Billy Idol’s HOT IN THE CITY. Not so obvious, maybe, is the next tune we played: MELT YOUR HEART from the divine Jenny Lewis. A nice suggestion too, from listener Zoe: SUMMERTIME CLOTHES from Animal Collective.  Andy’s suggestion was Nouvelle Vague’s I MELT WITH YOU and Lynden’s suggestion was a little on the obscure side. But when John Lennon’s goes COLD TURKEY his temperature rises and his fever is high. So, yeah, into the show on HEAT it went.

The great Ray Charles was next with IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT along with a little smooth jazz from Paul Hardcastle and the Jazzmasters, with Helen Rogers on vocals for BODY HEAT.

We closed the show with disco queen Donna Summer and HOT STUFF and the Godfather of funk, James Brown with HOT PANTS! Can you believe that this clip from 1985 was just a rehearsal?

Next week’s show is my Christmas A-Go-Go special, so tune in for some surprising Xmas tunes and I’ll have some giveaways especially for my lovely Theme Park listeners. In the meantime, here’s this week’s complete playlist.

The Heat Is On (Parts 1 & 2) – The Isley Brothers
Hot Hot Hot – Buster Poindexter
Heatwave – Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
Body Heat – James Brown
Canned Heat – Jamiroquai
Hot ‘N Cold – Katy Perry
Fever – Adam Freeland & Sarah Vaughan
Hot Love – T. Rex
Long Hot Summer – Style Council
Too Hot to Move, Too Hot to Think (Demo) – The Triffids
Hot Head – Captain Beefheart
Too Darn Hot – Ella Fitzgerald
Too Hot – Prince Buster
That’s Hot – Oka
A Hundred and Ten in The Shade – John Fogerty
The Heat Is On – Glenn Frey
Hot In The City – Billy Idol
Melt Your Heart – Jenny Lewis
I Melt With You – Nouvelle Vague
Summertime Clothes – Animal Collective
Cold Turkey – John Lennon
Body Heat – Paul Hardcastle
In The Heat Of The Night – Ray Charles
Hot Pants – James Brown
Hot Stuff – Donna Summer

Next week: CHRISTMAS A GO-GO

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn
%d bloggers like this: