Big hits, casualties

In 2011 the music community rallied to help with a series of concerts, auctions and other fundraising activities for flood relief, while live music was quantified by government and recognised for both its cultural and economic contribution.

In 2011 the music community rallied to help with a series of concerts, auctions and other fundraising activities for flood relief, while live music was quantified by government and recognised for both its cultural and economic contribution.

IN 2011 the music community rallied to help with a series of concerts, auctions and other fundraising activities for flood relief, while live music was quantified by government and recognised for both its cultural and economic contribution. The inaugural national SLAM Day on February 23 marked the first anniversary of the rally to support live music. The Arthouse and the Public Bar closed their doors and the Ding Dong Lounge shut suddenly due to fire in June (it is expected to reopen next year).

The Greyhound in St Kilda underwent a transformation and many rooms, such as the Laundry and the Palais in Hepburn Springs, changed owners. But they continue to operate as live-music rooms. Melbourne welcomed new venues such as the Phoenix Public House, the Gasometer, LuWOW, the Substation and the Regal Ballroom in Northcote. The Tote had a landmark year, celebrating its 30th anniversary as a live music venue, including the screen debut of Persecution Blues: the Battle for the Tote at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

MIFF also featured the Rowland S. Howard documentary Autoluminescent directed by Richard Lowenstein, which set a benchmark for music biopics.

Community radio went digital this year and in October national broadcaster Triple J launched a second digital radio station, Triple J Unearthed featuring all Australian music. In March, more than 50 Australian acts played at the SXSW convention in Austin, Texas.

It was also a strong year for the independents, with labels such as Mistletone, Chapter Music and Two Bright Lakes releasing some of 2011's most acclaimed albums. Remote Control Records released Adele's multi-platinum album 21 in Australia and Fuse also consolidated its position as a music distributor in Australia. Icehouse made a comeback, as did Cold Chisel (pictured above), with enormous success, the Huxton Creepers, Screaming Tribesmen, the Moffs, Ups and Downs and the Lighthouse Keepers. It was a huge year for Gotye, the Jezabels, Stonefield, Boy and Bear, Wagons, RocKwiz and Royal Headache, while Adalita produced one of the finest albums of the year.

New festivals Harvest, Sugar Mountain and the Five Boroughs sprung up, while Melbourne Music Week and the Melbourne International Jazz Festival were both successful. Nick Cave made his Meredith debut and it was an amazing year for tours with a choice of major international talents playing almost every night.

Record Store Day on the third Saturday in April brought back the thrill of buying music over the counter yet Melbourne lost two shops with the owners of the Last Record Store on Smith Street and Hound Dog's Bop Shop going into retirement. Melbourne's two great loves, football and music, came together not just for the Community Cup, which raised $200,000 for Reclink ''Live at the 'G'' put some of Melbourne's best up-and-coming acts in front of stadium-sized crowds for 20 minutes before the first bounce at Friday-night AFL games at the MCG.

We sadly said farewell to local musicians Josie Jason, Dutch Tilders, Shane Walsh and Ross ''Mudcat'' Waddington from Route 66. Australian music also mourned the loss of two rock legends the same weekend when Cold Chisel's drummer Steve Prestwich and Sherbet guitarist Harvey James lost battles with cancer. The Age EG Awards raised close to $10,000 for Support Act at the Prince Bandroom in November, when the Hoodoo Gurus and Triple R's Stephen Walker were inducted into the EG Hall of Fame.

NYE at the ESPY

THE Espy's annual NYE event offers a mammoth line-up across three stages with Jebediah, Paul Dempsey (and band), Big Scary, Stonefield (pictured above), Barbarion, Violent Soho, Split Seconds, Money For Rope, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Numbers Radio, Jackson Firebird, Loon Lake, River of Snakes, Kingswood, Royston Vasie and Fangs. Tickets are still available.

Regurgitator at the Corner

REGURGITATOR play the Corner Hotel on New Year's Eve for the ''Super Happy Fun Times New Year's 2012 Smash-Up'' with guests Lewis Floyd Henry, Ouch My Face, Seja Vogel and High Tea.

Other NYE celebrations

SPENCER P. Jones and the Escape Committee, Brat Farrar and Wild Turkey play the Retreat Hotel. Bar Open on Brunswick Street has a free night of dancehall reggae with Judge Pino and the Ruling Motions playing two sets. The Cherry Bar in AC/DC Lane has flown in the Datsuns' guitarist Phil Somervell from New Zealand. Yah Yah's hosts indie night Weekender featuring Foxx on Fire live at midnight as well as DJs Steve Wide and Gregory.

The Palace on Bourke Street's House of Rock extravaganza offers live music from AC/DC tribute group Volts and Attack of the Mannequins. The Standard in Fitzroy has a free-entry night with the Re-Chords. The City of Melbourne has family entertainment at Yarra Park with Denise Scott, Bob Evans and the Melbourne Ska Orchestra playing a free concert followed by fireworks at 9.30pm.

Three hours, three decades, three albums

THE Church are touring their live show, Future Past Perfect, in which they play three albums in their entirety: the critically praised Untitled #23, fan favourite Priest=Aura and Starfish. The Church recently toured this show across the US. In October last year they were inducted into the ARIA Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in April sold out the Sydney Opera House with a performance featuring the 70-piece George Ellis Orchestra. The Church play the Forum tomorrow at 7.30pm.

Gigs

?TONIGHT Fremantle-based indie-poppers San Cisco play the Toff in Town with Undercolours and We the People the Retreat in Brunswick has the Velocettes and last week's recipients of ''Single of the Week'' on iTunes, the Minibikes.

?TOMORROW The Bamboos, Clairy Brown and the Bangin' Rackettes, Mikelangelo's Gospel Shakedown Party, Fraser A. Gorman, the Cactus Channel, Snowy Belfast and Manchild play the Espy in St Kilda over two stages (free entry) the Jacks, Swedish Magazines, Rattlin' Bones Blackwood and Dan Dinnen are at the Old Bar.

?SUNDAY Newcomer Hanni El Khatib, a first-generation American son of Palestinian and Filipino migrants, performs '50s- and '60s-inspired garage rock at the Tote after his appearance at the Pyramid Rock festival.

?WEDNESDAY English ska legends Bad Manners, featuring larger-than-life frontman Buster Bloodvessel, return to the East Brunswick Club.

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