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.

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

July 2016 – Songs Of The Silver Screen

Songs Of The Silver Screen

What a wonderful night. The cold kept a few away which didn’t dampen Stu’s spirits at all… the important folks were there. The first few tunes went over well and Miss Amber was in fine form and looking gorgeous. Michael Smith from Gold Coast Ukuleles sang The Lion Kings’ – Can you feel the Love Tonight and a cracking version of ‘ Unchained Melody’, next Tone Uke did ‘Singin’ in The Rain’ and smashed out a ripper version of ‘Time Warp’ with Miss Amber and Stu.

Maria won the the A3 poster for the lucky door Prize and the proceedings commenced with a surprise visit from Phil Barron on musical saw… in ‘As Time Goes By’ and ‘Lara’s Theme’ what a special treat! Good friend Jeremy Jacks then auctioned our two large format posters. Lyn McCarthy silenced the bidding with an opening bid of $100 for the first poster which was promptly sold. The next one had a battle between 3 bidders and finally was won by long time supporter Brad Green. Another tune or two then the amazing Leigh Carriage graced the stage. It was the best birthday present I could have given the Uke Night and myself.

Leigh is an alchemist who can heal you with her vocal delivery. I was immersed in a blissful, joyful calm during her renditions of  ‘I Got Rhythm’ , Que’ Sera and ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’. She then finished of the night on stage joining in with harmonies with Miss Amber. Did I mention Steve Russell was playing Keys all night with us. Next level musicianship from the boys in the band. It was very special way to celebrate 5 years and nearly 60 consecutive uke nights. Thanks to all involved: the wonderful duo of Deb on the door and Luis on sound who have been with us all the way, Rod and Rex the Silver Haired Foxes in the rhythm section and all the great folk who continue to support and enjoy our monthly event. YAY for us!

June 2016 – Novelty Tunes

Novelty Songs

In response to the previous months Jazz Night, this Book was much more playable for the ukers, (though we had a few key changes to deal with)… It was a great night with many highlights and big laughs. We were having so much fun we played half of the 2nd set before we realised it was break time.

Clelia Adams does great versions of these Novelty Tunes, her version of ‘Hello Mudda Hello Fudda’, recieved much applause as did Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie… There were jaws agape when Jimmy Willing took the stage, his peacful stoic demeanour quickly erupted into the prancing show pony he really is. Iggy Pop move over – the shirt was off, hat waving in hand,  nearly hit his head on the ceiling jumping up and down…  he sweat a bucket… this was all in three songs. Jimmy put out so much energy – It was like 3 hours at the Gym.

Other great moments  during the night (I have been told) were ‘Cows With Guns’ and my favourite Miss Amber’s two renditions of Ruth Wallis’s two tunes ‘Boobs’ and ‘The Hawaiian Lei Song’. (Thanks Jan Beer for introducing her to us – we love her). Rex Carter on drums (first ever time singing uo the front) and Rod Coe on Bass were great Mounties in The Lumberjack song and Evan Landers (sun) did a great Lonnie Donegan on ‘My Old Man’s A Dustman’. Everyone left with a smile on their face. The obvious conclusion –  silly, cheeky, double entendre, risque songs are fun…. we will be doing them again soon.

April 2016 – Gone Not Forgotten

April 2016 Gone Not Forgotten

It’s always great when someone says, “that was the best uke night yet”… (some one always says it.) This Uke Night felt like a big joyful wake, lot’s of warmth and melancholy… less uke playing on many of the songs as the chords were particularly tough this month, though lots of loud singing.

Stu as usual lead the first few tunes and hit a high with Roy Orbisons’ ‘Crying’. It was an extra special night for Miss Amber as it was her Ukulele debut. She did her own version of Amy Winehouse’s ‘You Know I’m No Good’ a great arrangement that was hugely applauded. Members from the N.R.U.O, Madeleine, Jeanti and Terry joined in to play the riff from Nirvana’s ‘Come as You Are’.

This night had the benefit of extra planning time as the concept was originally for March then was moved as our stars Belle Hendrik and John Hill were not available till April. So glad it worked out this way as the set list and charts were fine tuned into what turned out to be a celebration of the great artists who have effected our lives so many ways and now have passed over to the other side. Also, sadly Prince died a week before the show so two of his tunes were added to the set.

John Hill is a consumate performer, singer and piano man and he floored everyone with his version of Joe Cocker’s ‘You Are So Beautiful’ (with the missing 2nd verse) then followed it with the Jamie Cullum inspired version of Jimi Hendix’s ‘The Wind Cried Mary’.

Special surprise guest was the unpredictable maverick Phil Frea. He was very entertaining with his lyrical adaptation of ‘New York New York’ – ‘Newtown Newtown’.  Even the mixed up verse somehow made it even funnier. He then dedicated his next tune to his 6 year old Daughter – ‘I’m Gonna Sit right down and write myself a letter’ with bv’s from Belle and Miss Amber.

Stu lead the Elvis Medley with more BV’s from the gals and it was time for the break with raffle and lucky door prize.

Belle Hendrick is a force of nature. Her versions of Nina Simone’s  ‘Feeling Good’, Edith Piaff’s ‘Non Je Ne Regrette Rien’ and ‘Kozmic Blues’ by Janis Joplin were jaw dropping…. then she belted out AC DC’s Highway To Hell with a version that would have had Bon Scott scared. After John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ the cast fare welled Prince one more time with Purple Rain. There were more than one standing ovation during the night.

Rod Coe on electric Bass and Rex Carter on drums were the incredible as usual, thanks to Luis for gtreat souns and Deb on the Door and the club for having us. Fiona Knight who is still battling cancer came along on the night. Margaret Bell escorted her and it was so great to see them both there.

See All Lyn McCarthy’s pics from the night here (thanks again Lyn)

March 2016 – Intimate Requests

UM_March2016_600

Originally the plan was to have the month off as Stu had an operation on his nose and was advised he’d need time to recover. One week later and Stu was feeling fine and completely bored so ‘Intimate Requests’ was the order of the day.

Since moving to the Ex-Services, comments had been made that UKE NIGHT was not as intimate as it used to be back in the Courthouse Hotel. So the band set up on the floor at the front of the stage and used a smaller vocal PA. The Ukers could hear themselves, like the Tumbulgum Uke Nights of old.

We also put the entire Uke Mullum song list online for the month so people could request their favourite songs, and if they chose, could lead them. Stu also did up 5 new charts for songs that were not in the list of nearly 1000 tunes. Neil McInnes, Graham Richardson, Erina Leech, Bettina and Melissa (The Moyle Sisters), Tone Uke, Almer Asha and Val Hodgson got up and slayed ’em. All very different moods and styles with great performances all round and cheered on by the supportive crowd.

The Band Comprised Mr Rod Coe on Double Bass, Warren Earl on guitar and Steel, Evan Sun on Mandolin and Guitar and percussion. We also had Clelia Adams smashing 5 tunes and a visit from Kathryn Jones plus our UKE NIGHT darling Misty Henderson (with Young Safron) who at the time of writing this is headed to Italy as part of the Mullum high school exchange program.

Thanks to all who came along, Deb on the Door and a special thanks to Luke from the Mullum Ex-Services Club who helped out with the TV monitor. It was a great format and will definitely be happening again.

Feb 2016 – Hawaiian Night

Uke Mullum's Hawaiian Night - Thu 25 Feb 2016

 

Wow. The room looked wonderful thanks to the efforts of Miss Amber and Lilith from Mana Aloha Hula Dancers (Byron Bay) with floral table settings and Palm Fronds adorning the stage. It was the biggest crowd we have had since we moved to the Ex-Services with folk traveling down from the Gold Coast and even international visitors from as far away as Argentina.

The band sounded wonderful with Paul Agar on Lap and Pedal steel, Rod Coe on the U-Bass and BV’s and Rex Carter on Drums. The dancers were so beautiful and all went off without a hitch with the musical arrangements (well almost). Beautiful singing with 3 part harmonies from Misty Henderson, Parrisa Bouas and Miss Amber. Terry Flatly made a surprise appearance on ‘Hula Girl’ and the members of the NRUO even got up unannounced on the dance floor to wiggle their hips.

Val Hodgson won the poster for a second time in a row (for the second time in a row). Best dressed male was Graham, Best dressed female was Leander and overall best dressed who took home the Lanikai ukulele was Leilani (who as it turns out lived next door to terry Flatly in the Lismore in the 60’s, now resides between Main Arm and Hawaii, she also supplied most of the beautiful Hawaiian dresses on display). Our aim was to show all who attended what an amazing place we live in. The aloha spirit was in the room and everyone left with a big smile on their face.

See Photo Album from Lyn at Niche Pics here