HOTA engages Australia's live music guru.
HOTA engages Australia's live music guru.
Home of the Arts (HOTA) recently announced the appointment of international music legend Graham Ashton of Footstomp Music who will lead a live music resurgence at the Gold Coast’s leading art and culture precinct.
He comes with an extremely impressive rap sheet having worked alongside the likes of Mumford and Sons, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Paul Kelly. So we’re in for a treat.
We sat down for a chat with Graham about signing big name artists and his advice for anyone looking to break into the music industry.
How long have you called the Gold Coast home?
We moved here seven years ago. Prior to that everywhere I lived felt like a step to somewhere else but now I don’t plan on going anywhere.
What do you love most about our city?
I love the contrast between the beautiful nature and the urban grit. Palm Beach and Tugun are my favourite spots.
What do you hope to bring to HOTA?
The Footstomp team took on booking The Triffid in Brisbane over four years ago and it has won the QLD Venue of the Year at the National Live Music awards every year since. We will use all of our experience and contacts to ensure that HOTA becomes a consistent and loved spot on the live music-touring schedule for great artists for a very long time.
You’ve had an incredible career in the music industry, how did it come about?
I left school and home at an early age to sing in a punk rock band and I love music just as much now as then.
Can you share a few highlights…
Signing Mumford and Sons to Dew Process Records and watching them connect deeply with so many people so quickly. Watching Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at Stubbs in Austin, Texas was my favourite gig of all time. Watching my former Footstomp staff go on to great things in their lives and careers. Our current management roster of Busby Marou, Tia Gostelow, Eden Mullholland and Colin Lillie fills my heart with pride.
You’ve worked with big name international acts like Robbie Williams, whose been your favourite to date?
Paul Kelly is probably my favourite artist I’ve worked closely with. He continues to astound me.
Any advice to people looking to break into the music industry?
Music contributes to society in an incredibly positive way. If you believe that in your heart and have an incredible work ethic that’s a good place to start. It’s much more about experience than money and social status. I watch lots of people come and go but the lifers are easy to identify.
There are a great many things to get amongst on the GC, and these days, a thriving local music scene is undeniably one of them. And we can all agree, if there’s one thing that takes kicking back with a frosty refreshment to a whole new level, it’s getting your ears around some sweet tunes while you do it.
From dank, hidden indie dive bars to classic pub-style serenades for the whole fam to vibe to – whatever genre you’re in the mood for, there’s bound to be a venue to match.
Hound & Stag
The new kid on Arundel’s block has been hitting all the right notes since they slid open their enormous barn door late last year. Hound and Stag is now the GC’s largest combining craft brews and live music, and honestly, how could you go wrong with a combo like that?! The regular array of gigs, open mic nights and 90’s nights are the big old auditory cherry on top of an excellent atmosphere, brew-pub bites and endless frosty beverages here, folks.
Where: 13 Wrights Place, Arundel
One of Queenland’s largest AFL clubs, Southport Sharks is a family-friendly gem that’s more than merely a haven for footy fans to wet their whistles. With multiple venues and areas built-in, this Babushka doll vibing spot always has something going on, including live acts every weekend if you’re in the mood to groove. Every Friday and Saturday night, there’s an assortment of free gigs going down, from retro RnB shows, classic pub rock to tribute acts to get those toes tapping. Might we suggest first swinging by Mozza Mozza, apparently carb-loading is important before strenuous activity.
Where: Cnr Musgrave and Olsen Avenues, Southport
We can always count on our local dive bar to deliver us the very dankest of gigs, and Vinnie’s Dive does exactly that. Championing our local music scene, they’re no strangers to big alt/indie names such as Dear Seattle, DZ Deathrays, Wil Wagner (The Smith Street Band) The Bennies and Regurgiator gracing their small but mighty stage – in addition to karaoke and themed tribute nights. We think this review sums it up best: “It’s dark, the floors are sticky, the toilets seats are occasionally broken, the beers are icy cold and the staff are the best people you’ll ever meet.” Get down there for great times and even better gigs (just leave the flimsy pluggas at home).
Where: Shops A & B, 44A Nerang Street, Southport
When it comes to finding live acts and having yourself a good time on the central Gold Coast, you’ll be hard pushed to look past The Avenue in Surfers Paradise. From comedy nights, drag shows, DJ’s, karaoke and themed evenings, there’s something going down at The Avenue each and every night of the week.
Work week got you feeling flat? We recommend Tunes on Tuesday or Feel Good Friday’s to recharge with some dance therapy and pulse-pounding beats. Those vibes will be back on track in no time.
Where: 3-15 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Should you arrive by jet ski or by Uber, it doesn’t matter. Surfers Pavilion is your one-stop venue in the heart of Surfers Paradise for drinks, eats and catching a live DJ set or two. And not just any disc jockeys either; The Stafford Brothers and Peking Duk have both played to jubilant crowds here in recent times. Currently, the wheels of steel are spinning Thursday and Friday evenings and all through the weekend: perfect long weekend territory.
Where: 30/34 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
The Home of the Arts is certainly doing the heavy lifting to finally elevate the arts and culture scene here in our section of Queensland. From intimate, indoor performances to the homegrown darlings and headline acts routinely taking one of Australia’s best outdoor stages – the variety of shows are as varied and vibrant as its technicolour exterior. For an impeccable way to kick off the weekend, it’s hard to go past Fridays on the Lawn. Grab a blanket, acquire a drink from their lawn bar, and relax in their sophisticated sun-kissed setting whilst being serenaded by some stellar local talent to celebrate the end of the working week.
Where: HOTA, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise
Open Tuesday to Sunday for your listening pleasure, Den Devine feature jazz and blues artists from a talent pool right here in our city. This intimate, hidden venue is well-known amongst live music fans, so we definitely recommend booking in advance to nab a seat. Grab a some eats and sips from their serious selection of whisky (the perfect accompaniment to some moody blues) and the equally stacked Mediterranean menu, and vibe to a selection of the best performers on the Gold Coast six nights a week.
Where: 15 Victoria Avenue, Broadbeach
Garden Kitchen & Bar at The Star Gold Coast
When it comes to star-studded acts and internationally recognised music performances, The Star Gold Coast is the place to grab a seat in a full-blown theatre and experience music as it was intended.
To keep you bopping in-between headline acts, there’s also live and free tunes going down on the reg, in the open air ambience of Garden Kitchen & Bar’s Live on the Lawn series. Every weekend, the beats come courtesy of DJ’s, soloists, and if you time it just right, the likes of world-class powerhouse vocalist, Lisa Hunt on select Fridays. Goosebumps incoming.
Where: 1 Casino Drive, Broadbeach
Having duly stamped its authority on the Nobby Beach bar scene as the place to go for frolic fuelled nights, these guys will have you rocking out until the wee hours with a live band or DJ every night of the week. The venue also offers new bands the chance to get themselves out there, so keep an eye out for fresh talent!
Where: 2245 Gold Coast Highway, Nobbys Beach
Build it, and they will come… though it’s not clear in this analogy if the ‘they’ should be the steady stream of stellar, live music acts, the hungry hordes, or adoring music fans. Either way, this iconic laneway has established itself as a cracking spot for many things, including one of the best places to catch a gig on the GC.
From 5pm every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, Miami comes alive with foods from all around the world mixed with local blues, jazz and independent artists. A hotspot doing some solid heavy lifting to attract incredible national and international acts as they tour the country – Be sure to keep an eye on their gig calendar; tickets always sell out fast!
Where: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami
Burleigh’s original back alley after-hours haunt is always an epic time. Nightjar is known for late-night revelry and an often stellar line-up of weekly live music. With drink specials aplenty, come and enjoy local acts as they take to the floor and keep the swinging yet sultry atmosphere going long into the night.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
Mo’s Desert Clubhouse
Burleigh’s multi-use music, space hire and events hub, Mo’s Desert Clubhouse is a melting pot of goings-on and a principal meeting place for muso’s, movers and shakers and music lovers across the GC. The industrial-style venue is outfitted with a fully stocked bar and equally stacked gig guide, so refer back often and make sure you pencil in a date with Mo’s Desert Clubhouse ASAP.
Where: 6/36 Central Drive, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Town Hotel
A fresh af new look is not the only thing Burleigh Town Hotel is boasting these days, also ‘drumming up’ a very solid live entertainment schedule studded with emerging bands and popular Aussie acts to get your ears around. There’s DJ’s and acoustic artists bringing tunes to the beer garden most weekends, along with with Punk, Motown and Pop themed tribute shows – where you can hit the d-floor to the likes of Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams and queen Kylie (gold hot pants optional).
Where: Tsipura Drive, Burleigh Heads
This gem is a favourite among live music fans, having hosted a slew of local, national and international icons — but it also remains one of our best-kept secrets. Find your way down to Currumbin RSL, where, hidden just above, Soundlounge hosts acts from folk soloists and DJs to rock and roll bands. Listening to fantastic live music can be a hungry business, but this venue has you covered with food options, including pizza, an a la carte restaurant and bar snacks.
Where: 165 Duringan Street, Currumbin
The Coolangatta Hotel
Whether you’ve been catching world-class waves or lounging in the afternoon sun, Coolangatta — and specifically the Coolangatta Hotel — has long been known as one of the best for rounding out a perfect afternoon with live music. Being one of the Gold Coast’s largest live music venues, this OG frequently features both national and international touring bands and DJs on any given weekend. In between catching your fave big names, rock out to live, local tunes every Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun.
Where: Cnr Warner Street and Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Words by Kellie Leader.
Over the last couple of years Broadbeach has seen a resurgence in high quality venues from hidden, back alley drinking holes to fancy five-star lounge bars and the new venue, announced this week, will up the ante even further.
The space is the work of hospitality honcho Tony Rigas and entertainment extraordinaire Sue Porrett who have teamed up to revamp the building on the corner of Surf Pde and Victoria Ave (formerly East Nightclub).
The double storey space has been empty for over two years but, with the signing of a 10-year lease, you can expect many good times in your futures friends.
Tony Rigas’ career spans 30 years and his experience working with some of the Coast’s most successful venues, including Shooters Saloon Bar, Quest Lounge Bar & Club, Mybar, Love Nightlife, Opium Restaurant & Champagne Bar and The Oriental Whiskey, means we’re in good hands.
Not to mention Sue Porrett who, as the founder of Aerial Angels Australia and with over 30 years (the magic number) experience in any and all forms of live shows and theatre, brings a wealth of knowledge to the table.
Sue’s experience spans The Great Moscow Circus 50th Anniversary Australian Tour, the absolutely mind-blowing Infamous, LumiAir and Viva Tropicana at Ocean Park in Hong Kong to name a few.
They sound like the perfect pair to us.
You may have noticed an absolute influx of cabaret shows across the Coast of late and we are all for more feathers, champagne and debauchery in our lives.
Which is what we’re going to get from this epic new space. Plus, of course, any number of unique shows and experiences that’ll surely blow our minds.
Bring on mid-2019.
Stay tuned for more details, we’ll let you know as soon as we do.
LOCATION: Victoria Ave and Surf Pde, Broadbeach
Amy Shark is a born and bred Gold Coaster who has taken the music world by storm over the last few months.
After releasing her debut single Adore in 2016, Amy became a household name going on to claim second place in Triple J’s Hottest 100 and last week, announcing an Australia-wide tour.
We sat down for a chat with Amy to find out how her life has changed and what she loves most about being a Gold Coaster.
It’s been a whirlwind few months for you, how are you feeling about it all?
I’m still Amy, but I get to write and play music full time now so I’m in the clouds!
You grew up on the Gold Coast, how has the culture here shaped your musical career?
The Gold Coast music scene was obviously not as savvy as the major cities but in a way it was kind of nice, there was never any pressure and I loved being able to write a song in my bedroom, then randomly ride to the beach and back. Growing up here was all about warm summers, sleepovers, theme parks, beach hangs and pool parties.
How did you come to be where you are today? Any defining moments?
When I finally took myself seriously, focusing on my sound and perfecting what I wanted people to feel when they listen to my music.
How did it feel to hear your song on the radio for the first time?
I was super proud! I will never forget that night.
What’s it been like trying to break into the music scene?
Well I kind of gave up ‘trying’ to get noticed, and it was the best decision I ever made. I finally channeled all my energy on my music.
If I were an aspiring artist on the Gold Coast, what steps would I take to get where you are?
Be brutally honest with yourself. Do you want to be a musician to be rich and famous or do you want to be a musician because you can’t stop making music? Cause if it’s the first one you’re probs gonna crash.
What do you love most about the Gold Coast lifestyle?
It’s chilled, it’s warm and there’s avocado on every menu.
You’re not a Gold Coast local if you haven’t….
Thrown some tins in your bike basket and rode to Burleigh Hill.
Being a local we have to ask for your favourites…
Pub: D’Arcy Arms
Coffee Shop: Society of Florida
Music venue: NightQuarter
Tour dates and tickets available here.