Music and the footy – they go well together


by Andrew Fithall

“I love football and I love music. But I don’t like music at the football.” These were the words of the founder and self-appointed head of the Floreat Pica Society, Steve Fahey, when I had the privilege of sitting next to him at the Round 1 Collingwood Hawthorn game at the MCG. I heard Steve’s comment clearly despite Melbourne power-pop trio Even playing a brief set during the half-time break of the game. And according to lots of talk-back radio and other media feedback, Steve is not alone in his disdain for this additional but unrequested entertainment. In the regular post-match email interplay of the Floreat Pica members, there was even a digression of the discussion into the merits of the music. I didn’t have a lot of support when I spoke out in favour.

The “Live at the G” initiative began in 2011, coordinated by Music Victoria CEO Paddy Donovan. Established acts such as Eskimo Joe and Tim Rogers as well as emerging acts such as Stonefield, Airbourne, Little Red and Paris Wells. This year, the acts are being coordinated by James Young of Cherry Rock. According to James: “In 2012 the AFL will be expanding Live at the Footy in partnership with the Austereo Network and Radar to include more games and more bands.”

Footy Almanac regulars will know I am keen on my football and keen on my music. Unlike Steve Fahey, I reckon they go very well together. I recall last year there a few variations on the mix. The first performers, Little Red, did a few songs before the teams emerged, had a brief break, and then played another song (their hit “Rock It”) while the teams warmed up. Later in the season, the bands completed their four or five-song set before the teams emerged. On Friday night, Even played a few songs pre-game and then returned for another stint at half time. I liked the mix. From my seat the volume was okay without being overwhelming, and being a fan of Even, I liked the music.

In scheduling the music, it seems James Young even took into account the allegiances of the performers. In the Collingwood FC TV show “The Club” on Fox Footy last week, there was a little snippet on a Collingwood supporter and his son and how they enjoyed going to the game together. Identified on the program only as Ashley, many wouldn’t have known him as Ash Naylor, lead singer of Even, nor identified the background music as being one of the band’s songs. The very observant ones at the MCG on Friday would have also seen the black Collingwood emblem on the body of Ash’s white guitar. With Music at The Footy expanding to Docklands, on Saturday Almanacker and known North Melbourne stalwart Tim Rogers was able to play before his team. Queensland band Young Geronimo played prior to the Gold Coast Adelaide game at Metricon stadium. Tex Perkins, a St Kilda supporter, had to put up with the Richmond and Carlton mobs for his show last Thursday.

According to James Young “It’s a great opportunity for the AFL to nurture and share the very best of Australia’s new musical talent and a wonderful chance for young bands to embrace a new way to reach a broad audience in the best way possible – playing their music live to an excited crowd in a world class stadium!” James was reluctant to divulge future acts, other than Spiderbait this weekend. However, with the official launch yesterday (Tuesday) offering a few hints, I think we can look forward to seeing Lanie Lane, Ella Hooper and Money For Rope over the coming weeks or months.

As well as supporting this program of acts at the football, I also think it should lead into having a local performer at the Grand Final. I have not heard any argument that Meatloaf last year was anything but an embarrassment to himself and to the AFL. This year, they should go with a performer who appeared as part of the Music at the G last year: Dan Sultan. He is local, indigenous, a footballer (captain of the Rockdogs in the Community Cup in both Melbourne and recently in Sydney) and a wonderful performer. Must find out who he barracks for.

About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.


  1. Phil Dimitriadis says


    definitely think there is a place for promoting live music before games. I would love to listen to Mick Thomas and the Weddos at the G. If ever there was a band that deserves to play the G to a full house it is the Weddos, with particular emphasis on fellow Almanacker, Squeezebox Wally’s accordion solos.

  2. Jeff Dowsing says

    Not so sure about music at the footy. I find the ear splitting ads enough of an invasion. If you consider the wide range of demographics and the selectivity of music tastes, a majority of the crowd are likely to think of the music as another unwanted invasion.

    People like to talk before the game and half time. Or listen to the radio or their own music of choice through their earphones. When the speakers are pumping out what in some parts of the ground is just indecipherable noise, and people can’t hear anything else, it really wears a bit thin.

  3. Dave Nadel says

    As Andrew knows from the Floreat Pica discussion I am with Steve. The MCG/AFL seem to have a policy of nonestop noise from the moment the first fan walks into the ground until the ball is bounced at the start of the first quarter. The noise resumes during the quarter, half time and three quarter time breaks.

    While I would much rather hear a good band than the voice of the G or advertisements for sponsors products (actually I’d even prefer a bad band to the voice of the G) what I really want is silence. I want to talk about footy with the people I have gone to the game with. In fact I might even want to talk about non-football topics. I am at the ground for the experience of watching footy and spending time with friends and/or family. If I want to hear a band, there are any number pubs, venues, concerts and festivals I can go to, and I do.

    Perhaps I am showing my age, but one of the things I miss about Victoria Park (and even Princes Park) is that they had old fashioned scoreboards which couldn’t be used to shout at barrackers about beer or cars or other product. During the 90s, occassional almanacker, Steve Alomes used to refer to the AFL as the Australian Fireworks League because the AFL would let off fireworks before games on the flimsiest excuses. The AFL has one of the best entertainment products in the world. It is called Aussie Rules Football. It doesn’t need to be shored up with other extra entertainments. It stands on its own.

  4. Michael Parker says

    I’m with Andrew I think its a great idea from the AFL. Its good exposure for these bands and is a nice change from adverts and other mindless crap over the loudspeakers. There are plenty of good young bands coming through so hope to see it for a long time to come

  5. Can someone tell me why Paul Kelly hasn’t got a gig doing the GF?

    Would love to hear Leaps and Bounds and To her Door on the biggest stage.


  6. Rick Kane says

    Great article AF and of the moment. I’ve seen Little Red, Stonefield and Even play before or at half time at the G. I’ve loved it. There is plenty of other ‘white noise’ that I could do with out before music. You know, like inane chatter right in your ear.

    Hearing Even play Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up last Friday night was one of the highlights of the night. You reckon Turning Japanese is a good “masters of their own domain” song. Listen to Pump It Up to hear an even better one.


  7. Good article AF.

    This is probably the best forum to let go of an idea I had a while ago.

    After getting so sick of Mike Brady being wheeled out every September, and this was before the train wreck that was Meatloaf, I thought that I would love to get together a crop of Australian singer/songwriters to write a song each about what footy means to them. Put them altogether on a compilation CD, send the profits to Ozanam House (or something similar) and then enjoy hearing some different songs come September.

    Perhaps James “the Houndog” Young could use his contacts to get this one going. I’ll even forgo my 10% commission fee!

  8. Dennis Gedling says

    Paul Kelly has definately played at one grand final I swear. The last one wasn’t that long ago (unsuprisingly) he did do Leaps and Bounds. I think it might have been one of the Brisbane V Collingwood matches. Wikipedia says no but I definately remember him playing.

    And it’s great to hear Even do still play every now and then. There is an article somewhere on ‘that’ footy forum that someone scanned of Wally Kempton being interviewed outside of Princess Park in his Carlton gear some time in the 90s.

  9. Great theory that combines the two great passions of many Victorians/Melbournians. My gripe with music at the footy is sound quality. I was at the Little Red game (interestingly I’ve forgotten who played), and I remember struggling to hear them and issues with the dynamics. The acoustics at the ‘G are just OK on a good day, and playing from a stand doesn’t help the cause. Practical issues aside, a few good tracks during the warm-up are a nice bonus and a good way to promote Aussie music.

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