Almanac Music: Best Gigs of 2017


My favourite gigs of 2017. Enjoy seeing great music just as much as attending the cricket or Collingwood games. Life’s short, go and see good music!


3/2/17- Bruce Springsteen at AAMI Park, Melbourne


‘The Boss’, with his brilliant E Street Band, gave the most thoroughly entertaining, energetic, memorable live performance you would ever be lucky enough to see. Three hours full of classic Springsteen songs from every part of his career. A packed house at AAMI Park lapping up every second of the magic. My mate Jamie and I would have happily stood in our excellent position for another 3 hours. Gig of the year.


26/2/17- Alex Lahey at the Grampians Music Festival, Halls Gap



The Prickly Moses bus rolled into Halls Gap for the inaugural Grampians Music Festival, seeing that Alex Lahey was on the bill saw me put my hand up to pour beers at the event. Alex and her wonderful band played songs from her 2016 EP ‘B Grade University’ plus new tracks that would end up featuring on her debut LP. Watching this up and coming star play against the magnificent backdrop of the Grampians was a great experience .


18/3/17- Ella Hooper at The Tote, Collingwood



Despite the late finish (almost 1am!) Ella Hooper and her very cool band showcased the best of her solo work to a packed bandroom at The Tote. Her media work has put her in good stead in engaging a crowd, her wit coming to the fore many times during the night. Bemoaning the very late start after the support acts were delayed, saying she ‘needed a wine’ saw several glasses appear on stage from the punters in a very funny moment!


31/3/17- The Living End at the Wool Exchange Hotel, Geelong

No Australian band puts on a show like The Living End. Flat out from start to finish. Packed in like sardines at the massive room at the Wool Exchange. Trio of elite musicians. Loved every minute. Please don’t let it be so long before the next album/tour.


13/4/17- Madness at Festival Hall, West Melbourne



It felt like walking into an Ashes Test at the MCG as we entered Festival Hall, Poms everywhere! The ska legends had the crowd jumping all night as they played hit after hit plus some songs from their most recent albums. Totally mad fun!


14/4/17- Gretta Ziller & Andrew Swift at Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park, Koallah


Photo courtesy of ‘Music By the Lake’ Facebook page


Two fantastic emerging talents on the Australian Alt-Country Scene, Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift played together, a wonderful set that revolved around Swift’s self titled 2016 album and Ziller’s at the time upcoming debut LP ‘Queen Of Boomtown’. Fantastic that artists of this stature gave their time to appear at this wonderful country Good Friday charity event.


14/4/17- Ian ‘Bidge’ Boyd at Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park, Koallah


Photo courtesy of ‘Music By the Lake’ Facebook page


‘Bidge’ always plays a great set, mixing country covers with some of his own tunes. And it’s his song “Among the Lakes and Craters”, about the Pomborneit /Weerite/Camperdown district, that is always a huge highlight for me. The lines about the General Store and the stone walls get me every time. Bidge and his wife Barb drive the Good Friday event at Lake Purrumbete every year, raising $3705 for the Royal Children’s Hospital in 2017. Get along to the 2018 Good Friday ‘Music By the Lake’ day at Lake Purrumbete, always a great day out.


28/4/17- Daniel Trakell at The Spotted Mallard, Brunswick

Was blown away when I first heard Daniel Trakell sing live on Lindy Burns’ evening show on ABC Melbourne. Seeing him live for his EP launch at The Spotted Mallard, a fabulous place to see live music, only enhanced my opinion of this rising talent. Incredible vocal range, had some wonderful players come in at various stages of the gig to join him. Plus got a shout-out during the show for ‘travelling from the Otways’!


13/5/17- Helen Shanahan at Some Velvet Morning, Clifton Hill


Sadly I couldn’t get a good photo on the night, photo courtesy of @helenshanahan Instagram


Standing room only at the salubrious Some Velvet Morning. Helen Shanahan is totally captivating live with her beautiful voice and deep, heartfelt songs. A joy to hear the songs from her brilliant album “Every Little Sting” plus some tracks from her previous EP’s. Looking forward to her next shows in Victoria .


9/6/17- Killing Heidi at 170 Russell, Melbourne


Photo courtesy @killing.heidi Instagram


Unfortunately missed seeing Killing Heidi in their heyday, so no way was I going to miss this. Every album and aspect of KH was covered, boy did they rock. Having seen Ella Hooper play live in her solo career, with guitar in singer-songwriter mode, to see her put on the ultimate rockchick frontwoman act was a totally fantastic experience.


25/6/17- Catherine Traicos at Northcote Social Club, Northcote

The Melbourne launch for her single ‘Crashing’, the dark bandroom at the Northcote Social club made for a hauntingly wonderful gig. Mostly new tracks played with regular guitarist Darren Nuttall, joined at times by ace cello player Gareth Skinner. As always, C.Traicos mesmerised with her vocals and guitar plucking.


22/7/17- Broads at Some Velvet Morning, Clifton Hill



Absolutely exquisite harmonising from Broads at a truly magnificent show. Huge highlight to hear their wonderful ‘mouth trumpet’ work on “I Can’t Stop Thinking” and one of the earlier songs “How To Make a Hero”. The duo of Kelly Day and Jane Hendry are enormously talented. Jane announced she was pregnant during the gig, hopefully her maternity leave is short and Broads are back in action soon!


25/8/17- Ali Barter at The Workers Club, Geelong

Ali Barter put out a cracking album in 2017, and played it brilliantly live supported by her fantastic band. Her voice is sweet but packs a punch. Like her songs. Awesome live act. Plus she plays with a very, very cool white guitar.


12/11/17- Catherine Traicos at The Old Bar, Fitzroy

After several years of being a fan and a couple of years of being a regular attendee at her shows, I finally got to see Catherine Traicos with her full band. Wow. This was the Melbourne show as part of her “Luminaire” album tour, and didn’t those songs from that fantastic record sound spectacular with her brilliant band. Noticed this gig was being filmed, would love for at least some of the songs to turn up on YouTube.


15/11/17- The Smith Street Band at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne

The support act for Midnight Oil on this night, I was very keen to see The Smith Street band after really enjoying their 2017 album “More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me”. They didn’t disappoint, powerful band, frontman Wil Wagner wields a huge prescence, an imposing figure leading a band very much making their own sound.


15/11/17- Midnight Oil at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne



Oiiiiiilllllllssss!!!! Yes, they were every bit as good as you remembered them. In the top echelon of Australian bands ever. So many hits. So many that they couldn’t play them all. Hirst, Garrett, Moginie, Rotsey, Hillman. Elite players. Superstars. So glad they’re back. So hope a new album will come out of this reunion. If not, was great to see them play again, to be reminded of how wonderful a live band they were. And are.


Happy gigging in 2018!


Read more Almanac music stories HERE

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Neil Anderson says

    At least you wouldn’t need an over-nighter at Purrumbeet Luke. It must be great to have a venue close to home.
    The only live band at Mortlake has been at Mac’s Hotel and only in recent times with the new ownership. Also the Mount Noorat hotel has some entertainment, once again after new owners took over.
    I like the idea of the Prickly Moses bus pulling into town with a few samples for the locals.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Shoulda told me you were going to Madness Luke. I saw them (probably) before you were born, with The Sports at Thebby.

  3. A great run-down there, Crackers, with plenty of variety.
    A couple of my mates were recently pining for the “good old days” (of Oils / INXS / Aussie Crawl / Chisel etc) and bemoaning the current state of Australian live music. My response was “there is plenty of music out there, you just need to look for it”. This piece is exhibit A for my argument.

  4. Neil Anderson says

    I saw a couple of emerging groups probably before your parents were born. The Beatles in 1964 at Festival Hall and the Rolling Stones at the Palais St Kilda in 1965.
    I should have made the effort to see Paul McCartney last year after the rave reviews.

  5. Andrew Fithall says

    This is an impressive and diverse list Luke. Well done on getting to so many live events. I reckon going to shows, along with buying music directly (rather than subscribing to Spotify or similar), the best way to support artists. I agree with you regarding the Spotted Mallard as a fabulous venue. You gotta love having seats sometimes. I like your mix of big and small venues – rural and metropolitan. I too have trouble with the very late finishes for some shows. Showing my age.

    I am disappointed in myself for not getting to the Catherine Traicos November show in Fitzroy. Was at a loose end that day and that would have been an excellent way to spend Sunday afternoon.

  6. another great year you had no end to your talent

  7. Great stuff Luke. Jealous at the range of music and touring acts you get in Victoria. WA is limited to megastars and revival acts. Just looked at the Gig Guide in Rhythms magazine and only Robert Plant coming to Perth from Bluesfest at Easter.
    Do yourself a favour and go to see Jason Isbell at Hamer Hall in late March. He is the best Bruce since Bruce became a revival act. Extraordinary lyrics and voice. We saw him 2 years ago in Melbourne and his band is awesome. His live shows always finish with an amazing cover – “Like a Hurricane”; “Into the Mystic”; “Whipping Post”. If I close my eyes its 1984 again and I’ve got hair.

  8. John Butler says

    Diverse array of acts and locales there, Luke.

    That Springsteen kid has a chance to really be something someday.

    Keep punting!

  9. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great stuff Luke you are a true music junkie

  10. Catherine Traicos, the daughter of AJ Traicos, who played test cricket for South Africa and Zimbabwe.

    Rock on Luke .


  11. Ella, Madness & Ali three fantastic gigs for date nights in 2017! Who will we see this year?
    Good Friday @ Lake Purrumbete a fantastic family day out also.
    You & your music Luke. Even though I bag you, you have certainly opened my eyes to who some fantastic talent. x

  12. Great post Luke.
    Always tough to beat Springsteen.
    I only saw two gigs (from memory) this year. Pathetic, I know.
    But they were gooduns.
    Nick Cave in Stockholm and Radio Birdman/Died Pretty at The Croxton.
    Here’s a clip of Nick doing Stagger Lee.
    Truly amazing show. Unforgettable.


  13. Well done Luke.
    Share the love.

    B Springsteen at Hanging Rock was a highlight for me.
    And Tex, Don & Charlie at the Thornbury Theatre.
    But also most Thursday nights at the Lomond Hotel – where a diverse range of local and travelling acts were prepared to get up on the front bar stage and have a crack.
    Vive la performance de la musique!

  14. Luke Reynolds says

    Neil- any close gig is wonderful. But Melbourne is ok.
    Would love to read N.Anderson stories on the Beatles and Stones gigs. What a time to have been there!

    Swish, didn’t think ska would be your thing. So would have loved to have seen The Sports.

    Smokie, so much talent in Australia. Most of it underrated. Australian artists deserve our support.

    Andrew- I subscribe to Spotify, but make a point of supporting artists I like by buying their albums and attending gigs. I’m sure you’d have enjoyed the Catherine Traicos gig at Fitzroy, by far the best C.Traicos show I’ve been to. Will keep you informed as to when she plays next.

    Thanks Lizzie, as always thanks for reading!

    PB- thanks for the clip, have only heard a little bit of Jason Isbell, will certainly be checking him out more.

    JB- he goes alright that kid!

    Cheers Rulebook!

    Glen, spot on!

    Mrs R- they were great shows. Look forward to seeing more in 2018!

    HB- that’s a great clip. Hope you get to a few more shows now you are back in Melbourne.

    ER- seeing live music is so rewarding. Must be wonderful having regular music at your local. Always enjoy your Thursday night posts from the Lomond.

  15. Terrific stuff Luke and I agree with what Smokie said. Is Alex Lahey playing Bonnaroo this year? That’s impressive. Springsteen was briliant (as usual) but McCartney was something else.

    PB, I saw Bluegrass Parkway at Rodney’s Bait and Tackle in Mosman Park when I was in Perth last October. A great band. Saw Warner the night before at the Leopold but missed out on Lambchop, a US americana band who were on tour in Perth. Then there’s brilliant locals such as Timothy Nelson, Kill Devil Hills, Davy Craddock and Ruby Boots (she’s kicking up a storm in the US). You’ve got a bit going on there.



  16. Chris Bracher says

    I was at the brilliant Oils gig too Luke…and was also impressed by the big sound of the Smith Street band.
    Followed up a couple of weeks later with McCartney which was a once in a lifetime experience, despite being in the cheap seats ( ticket acquired in the morning of the gig for only $70). Reaffirmed for me that there are no bad seats at the rectangular stadium.

  17. With the better half being a Wendy Stapleton fan, we saw Wendy perform at the Royal Oak a couple of times in 2017.

    I recall back in my youth seeing Wendy and the Rockets a few times, that being circa 1979-1982. She played a few ,booked out shows at the Royal Oak in 2017.

    Interested onlookers included Tony ‘Spud’ Dullard and Barry Round.

    Who else did i see in 2017 ?


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