August 2017 – Keep Calm and Uke On

This August 2017 theme ‘Keep Calm and Uke On’ came together at the last minute. I do admit I’m starting to find it difficult to come up with a fresh theme each month and the thought of all the work that it takes to finish off a book and compile the performers and players is very daunting. Though… for some reason… I keep doing it. I guess I know the the end result is always rewarding as it definitely was in this case. The poster came first and the idea for the theme was planted at Monday Night Mullum Uke Club after seeing the image. Special mention to Val Hodgson who often influences me with her strong opinions. (love you Val).

Thankfully, UKE NIGHT hero John Hill filled in on Piano at the last minute as Dan Brown sadly had to pull out due to family illness. Turns out he was the perfect man for the job, he is a wonderful player and performer and it is always an honour to share the stage with Mr. Hill. Special guests Tim Stokes and Vasudha Harte (A.K.A. Lady Boho) were wonderful guest performers. The first set was anti war / protest songs starting out with ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ by Eric Bogle… this is one heavy song… It set a maudlin tone. Miss Amber does a great Kate Bush and her version of Army Dreamers was very well received.

As the set moved on the songs became gradually lighter and after Lady Boho’s excellent versions ‘I Was Only 19’, ‘Thou Shalt Not Steel’, and a very cool ‘Tryin’ Times’ (excellent Bass by Mr. Rode Coe), we ended the set with the French tune ‘Le Temps De L’amour’ (The Time For Love). Vasuha has a voice like caramel. Audience members were excited to have a new face on stage and she has left quite an impression with most folk never having seen her perform although she is a multi talented musician and teacher and a stalwart of the local Byron Shire music scene.

Enter Tim Stokes for some songs of love and uniting. He is the man for these kind of songs… ego-less, full of love with a smile that melts your heart. His original tune ‘Blessed Are’ went over very cheerily and his version of ‘What a Wonderful World’ left the whole room all gooey.

We ended the evening off with two from John Lennon (and Yoko) with ‘Imagine’ and a rousing ‘Give Peace A Chance’. This night was a very palpable emotional journey that reaffirmed my belief in the power of song. Thanks to Jason Caspen on Drums, Deb on the door, Luis on Sound and everyone one who came along. There were a lot of faces who hadn’t been to the last few evenings and it was great to see almost all of the NRUO united again sitting together at a table strumming along.

 

June 2017 – SOUL

The 70th consecutive UKE NIGHT on Thursday 29 June was themed SOUL and was a true joy. Partly because of the great guests and musos in the band, partly because of the fantastic songs and partly because we had a great turnout and everyone was up for a bit of fun!!

Justin Bannister was back on keys with his excellent energy and optimism playing all the extra little horn lines and string parts. 13 year old Sam Sanders was as steady as a rock on soul guitar chops and pulled off a fantastic blues solo at the end of the set. Always consistent and fabulous Jason Caspen and Rod Coe – drums and bass and for his first ever jaunt, Peter Chown on Sax made one tight little combo.

Then the guests: First up ‘Man About Town’ Jono Hillman did a great job Sam ‘n Dave’s Hold On I’m Comin’ and his other 2 tunes. Brand new comer Soul Sister Number 1 – Shelly Brown raised eyebrows and put smiles on faces. She is a marvel, full of great soul chops and positive uplifting vibes. Of course Raku One O’Gaia (formerly known as Soulman) always brings it on home in a big big way. One of the more memorable nights we have had in a while. The numbers were good and there were more ukes in the audience than the previous few nights. Sharon Shostack who has filmed a few birthdays in the past won the SOUL poster and I was very chuffed for Ian Wickham who was beaming with delight when he won the lucky door prize.

Samb was there live streaming and a few folk tuned in – including Terry and Maddy from the NRUO all the way from Darwin. Thanks to Luis and Deb back on the door. Thanks for all who came along.

May 2017 Hawaiian Night

This night was quite a production, augmented with grace and beauty by Hula Tomoka, Yuri and Kanami from the Gold Coast School of Hula Dance. These beautiful Hula Dancers are true joy to behold, breath taking! Aloha Baby – Stu, Paul Agar and Rod Coe provided the bulk of the music including some lush instrumentals. Jason Caspen provided the beat with Miss Amber leading a few tunes as well. The highlight was the Hula dance lesson with a line up of dancers having a great time. Also the best dressed was a lot of fun with the youngest male in the room scooping the Kahuna Massage for dad and Dorothy taking home the ladies prize for her colourful outfit.

Unbelievably, Bede Cooney won the poster… it’s a running gag that Bede wins all the time… he does!  The evening was streamed live on Facebook. Unfortunately there was a little hitch in posting to the Uke Mullum Facebook page, so apologies to those who tuned in. A work around was quickly put in place and the 2nd set was live. Thanks to Samb from Bay Stream who did and amazing job and thanks to those of you who tuned in. Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2

Also big thanks to Luis for sound and lights, he went many extra yards to make the show look great. Big Thanks also for Sista Mary who to care of the door.

It was lovely to see some familiar faces returning to Uke Night and great to see some folk from Yamba, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

April 2017 – Hits Of The 70’s

One of the best nights we have had in a while, both attendance and the quality of the show. New comer Justin Bannister on Keys was a huge hit. He played most awesome keyboards and even sang ‘Spirit In The Sky’. Monday night crew Erina and Mac did a great job on ‘ Meet Me On The Corner’ guests Ash Bell and Sara Tindley brought down the house as usual. Very fine version of Piano Man in the original key must have special mention.

The coolest moment for me was when Daughter Rose and Sara’s daughter Poppy danced to Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ and nailed the movements. Rod Coe on Bass, Jason Caspen on Drums and Evan Landers on guitar and Mando.

Lucky Duck Brad Green again nabbed the poster. There was laughter and smiles and even dancing. The themed nights seem to be more popular and better attended so for now that’s what we’re gonna do. Back to themes every Month.

Thanks to Lyn from Niche Pics for the photos.

March 2017 Easy

For the first time in Six years Uke Night missed a month. Due to flooding we had to postpone this event. It went ahead last night on the Friday 7 April. Luckily, we were joined by Clelia Adams who couldn’t be there had the show taken place a week before. Jan Beer got up with Erina Leech and sang ‘Daisy A Day’. Each time Jan is gaining more confidence and Erina is become a really strong singer thanks to a gift singing lesson with Parissa Bouass,a tremendous singer and teacher. Erina’s version of ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ was simply magic, adorned with some tasty Pedal Steel from Paul Agar. Graham and Rae got up for a rendition of your ‘still gonna die’ which had everyone laughing.

Thierry Fossemale was on double bass and Jason Caspen on drums – a heavenly rhythm section. Dave Sanders even dropped in for Deb on the door’s version of You Are My Sunshine. We even had a very special surprise visit from traveling Irish Musicians The Aoife Scott band who are drop dead wonderful. It was a night full of surprises and great music. Most surprising was that Bede Cooney was there and he didn’t win the door prize. Thanks Sista Mary for the pics.

February 2017 Easy

We had a great evening together on the floor with Rod Coe back on bass after being away for 2 consecutive Uke Nights. Paul Agar was in the house on dobro as was Evan Landers on guitars and mando… no drums tonight. It was an eclectic mix of tunes with an eclectic bunch of characters leading the tunes, including Tone Uke (also know as the Garlic Man), who laid down Ramblin’ Man by  The Allman Brother. Many thanks for the generous garlic donation Tony. Clelia Adams came for a social sing and floored everyone with her massive voice including versions of ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ and ‘Ghost Riders in The Sky’. The nicest aspect is being able to hear all the ukes strumming along together. More of this next month.

Jan 2017 Modern Australian

Thanks to everyone for coming to the Modern Australian UKE NIGHT. It was in the end a fantastic evening albeit with a late start and even later finish. I was up at the crack of dawn and so was our trusty sound man Luis Christia and Door Technician Deb Stoker at the Brunswick Heads Breakfast in the Park Australia Day celebration. The NRUO was leading the songs for the forth year in a row. So we were a little pooped.

This book featured Australian songs from the last 20 years. So not surprisingly some folk had never heard of them. This was the exact reason I did the book. It seems ludicrous that songs most people want to hear and play are the ones they know, usually from their youth when they first fell in love with them. While I understand why that is, in the past 20 years 10s of thousands of songs have been written… some real treasure too. We must keep moving along folks.

With this in mind I thought it important to have some young folk up on stage with us. Local band 100 Words consists of 12 year old – Miller Stuart-Long, (fantastic singer / song writer in the making), Jack Edmonds and Sam Sanders. These guys share the instruments around and have learned how to hold it down and keep it tight. So refreshing to see. Milly sang with daughter Rose Eadie on ‘Big Jet Plane’ before the band got up and played two original songs. Also Sonny Flynn played trumpet. What a great feeling to share the stage with these young musicians. Sam Sanders was actually in the UKE NIGHT band as guitarist and did a mighty job with a talent way beyond his years, playing some wicked riffs and solid grooves and solos on songs he heard for the first time the week before.

The first half of the show was full of pop songs from Australian bands and solo artists, including the wonderful message song ‘Caught In The Crowd’ by Kate Miller-Heidke. Guest vocalist Sara Tindley’s daughter Poppy Baily-Tindley sang this one with Rosie – they were amazing. Both Miss Amber and Sara sang harmonies with the girls unable to contain their proud mother smiles.

Brad Green won the highly coveted poster in the raffles and Noel won the two tickets for next month. Barb won the Australia Day ukulele and promptly told Miss Amber to bend over so she could show her were to stick it. (Barb is over 80 and doesn’t fancy learning I guess).

The 2nd half of the show was more singer songwriter flavoured, perfect for our guests Sara and Mr Ash Bell. Ash is having a break from performing at the moment and it was so great to hear his voice again. See clip of Ash singing Paul Kelly’s ‘They Thought I Was Asleep’. A few people had left by now as it was getting late so it was a very special intimate 30 minutes, finished of by a rockin’ version of  ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ from Jet sang by Sara, who can belt out a rock tune with the best of them. (I love when Sara Rocks out)

There was a lot of learning from the musicians this month and I really appreciate the time and effort that went into recreating all the little details. Brilliant keys from new comer Dan Brown who was the perfect man for the job with the ability to pull authentic synth sounds one minute and beautiful piano solos the next. Thanks To Al Brooker and Jason Caspen for their exceptional rhythm section work. The night was ended with a soulful version of Nick Caves ‘Into My Arms’ with impromptu 4 part harmonies in the last chorus. We were packed up and out of there before 10pm.

See more pics from Lyn McCarthy at Niche pics here

Modern Australian

Riptide – Vance Joy
Cry – The Mavis’s
Lighthouse – The Waifs
Coin Laundry – Lisa Mitchell
Caught In The Crowd – Kate Miller-Heidke
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Don’t Be Silly – 100 Words
Hoops – The Rubens
To My Table – Mama Kin
Walking on A Dream – Empire Of The Sun

Black Bugs – Regurgitator
I’m Not Coming Back – Husky
Buttons – Sia
Time – Sara Tindley
We Won’t Run – Sarah Blasko
Bowen Station – Ash Bell
They Thought I Was Asleep – Paul Kelly
My Happiness – Powderfinger
Heart Beating – Suzannah Espie
Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye
Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet
Into My Arms – Nick Cave

Christmas Uke-Tacular 2016

This was a great irreverent Christmas celebration with a bunch of slightly off  kilter Christmas tunes that had everyone in a great mood and smiling as they left. Not schmaltzy, though some real love and joy in the room… a great way to the year of Uke Mullum and Miss Amber and Stukulele’s Uke Night.

Steve Passfield was excellent as Naughty Santa and a delivered some great guitar and a lot of quick witted humour. The audience were having a great time, particularly Val Hodgson when the band spontaneously launched into ‘Wipe Out’.

The Tinsel Tones were fabulous as ever, this year with Misty Henderson who also nailed Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’. Rosie Eadie did a fine job of her tunes ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ and ‘I saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus’ which has dropped a key every year. Naughty Santa sang about wanting some Lovin’ and Back Doors….

The Poagues ‘Fairytale Of New York’ was a big hit. The little known ‘Sleigh Bell Rock’ was well received also.  A quick ‘Feliz Navidad’ with Rod Co’s grandson Cooper and a wave good bye and that was the 6th Annual Christmas Uke-Tacular.

Check out the pics from Lyn at Niche pix here

November 2016 – The Best Of the 2016

The Best Of The 2016 Songbooks

 

This was one of the best fun Uke Nights as it was spontaneous and loose though still very musical and entertaining. Traditionally, November is all about looking back on the songbooks we have presented and choosing the favourites. The result was a very eclectic mix. Sharny Russell was roped in at the last minute. She was coming over to do a guest spot though Stu quickly put her to work on keys, at times playing songs she hadn’t heard before. Of course Sharny (sister of Steve Russell) is one of the Austrailia’s most accomplished Jazz pianists and vocalists. What a touch of class. (we are blessed with the most wonderfully talented musicians).

The band were great as usual – Al Brooker on bass, Jason Caspen on Drums and Evan Landers on Guitars. It was so great to have Misty Henderson back with us. She is such a star in the making. The NRUO backed her during ‘Summertime’ and also performed ‘Lullaby Of Birdland’ which was beautifully garnished with Sharny’s piano.

A great highlight was ‘100 Words’, a band consisting of local 12 year old, Mila Stuart-Long, Sam Sanders and Jack Edmonds who played their 3 original songs during the break. We hope to see more of the group next year. Straight after you could have heard a pin drop during Sharny’s version of Carole Kings ‘You Got A Friend’…. simply stunning. Jono Hillman sang a few tunes with us from the British Invasion book of last month and then did a fine John Kay from Steppenwolf in ‘Born To be Wild’.  Val and Erina did a fine ‘She’s Not There’ by the Zombies. We finished the night with Time After Time which Miss Amber always slays especially with the addition of beautiful harmonies from Sharny and Misty.

Val and Barry won the door prize  – free tickets and somehow convinced Stu that a free bottle of wine was part of the prize. Pete Brosnan took home the poster with the winning number 16. Doesn’t get more fortuitous that. Smiles all round for another fun event in Club Mullum with a bunch of new and familiar faces.