Lifestyle & Culture

Newcastle bands hitting the stage this month

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With restrictions across Australia lessening, live performances are making a comeback. Jasmin Thompson has your guide to upcoming events in Newie.

A few months ago I was unsure if live music would ever recover. Would the sweaty gigs we once knew and loved return only as a ghost of their mighty past? Thankfully, Australian Music Month bought with it a saving grace – Great Southern Nights. A NSW Government initiative which saw 1,000 COVID safe performances hit stages across NSW in a bid to revitalize the music industry.

“This event is a NSW Government initiative, delivered by its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW in partnership with the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) to stimulate the revival of the live music and entertainment sectors and in turn the visitor economy in the recovery phase of COVID-19.” (Great Southern Nights)

Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of this already impressive initiative was its respectable goal to showcase not only major Australian artists, but also emerging and local artists. The line-up boasted big names such as Thirsty Merc and The Veronicas, alongside the likes of Maddy Jane and Front-End Loader, all the while using their online gig guide to highlight local artists performing in the area.

If you’re anything like me and were too consumed in University work to notice this initiative until it was a bit too late, then not to worry! I’ve compiled a small list of great Newcastle artists with upcoming gigs so you too, can experience the blessed return of live music.

John Floreani

At The Cambridge Hotel, December 3rd.

Influences: Daniel Johnson, Owen and Right Away, Great Captain!

Favourite Track: Oh Brother 

First up is John Floreani, not only is he a powerful solo artist but also the lead singer of Newcastle punk rock band Trophy Eyes. Floreani’s music is soul-crushing in the best way possible. The sound transports me to the early 2000’s emo days but the raw lyrics bring me right back to reality. If you find yourself amongst the crowd on Thursday, then you’re in for an intimate experience. Floreani’s Facebook page promises,

“We’ll spend the night deep in conversation; my story, my music and whatever else you need to say. Ask questions, tell your story, hell- we can talk about the weather. It’s your night. I can’t wait to see you, it’s been too long. We Need To Talk.”

Midway Band

At 5 Sawyers, December 6th.

Influences: Pacific Avenue, Skeggs, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Silverchair

Favourite Track: Hero

Next up we have Midway band, a three-piece indie group bringing you some classic Aussie beach rock vibes. Midway band’s single, ‘Hero’, hit number one on the Triple j Unearthed charts last year, a massive feat for any small band but even more impressive for a young teen band. In their interview with ‘Homebrewed’, a podcast from the Central Coast, vocalist and songwriter Jordan talked about how COVID has forced him to improve his songwriting. It sounds like the band might be cooking something up and if their singles ‘Beach Girl’ and ‘Hero’ are anything to go off then I’d say it’s going to be great. Alongside Midway Band will be another local indie rock band, Mango Avenue.


At the Civic Theatre, December 18th.

Influences: Maggie Rogers, Gretta Ray, Holy Holy, Vera Blue, Middle Kids

Favourite Track: Can We Go Home Now

The Civic Theatre has begun to host Civic Bar Beats, a free live music session every Friday night. Although this event isn’t a traditional gig it’s still a great chance to get out, relax in a bar with some cocktails and show your support for a talented artist. BERLYN is a 22-year-old Indie pop singer/songwriter who landed in the finals of UoNs very own Band Comp. I was lucky enough to represent Yak as a judge at one of the competitions heats, when I saw BERLYN perform I was mesmerized by her powerful voice and her captivating lyrics. Her style is reminiscent of Ruby Fields but just as unique.

Honey Hills

Influences: Catfish and The Bottlemen, Spacey Jane, Ocean Alley

Favourite Track: Daisy

At the Newcastle Hotel with supporting acts BONZA, Cooks and Bakers and Mango Avenue. December 31st (TBC)

This ripper of a show was set to happen in March but due to COVID it’s been rescheduled multiple times. The event page now sits stagnant, set on a date that isn’t yet confirmed. I would recommend joining the event page to receive updates as this is a show you don’t want to miss.

Honey Hills are a 4 piece indie rock band who placed as finalists in the 2019 ‘Vans Musicians Wanted‘ Competition. Their sound is quintessential Aussie indie rock that gets you dancing along every time.


Influences: Catfish and The Bottlemen, Spacey Jane, Ocean Alley

Favourite Track: Done No Right 

Another classic Indie rock band that knows how to please a crowd, BONZA’s stage banter is enough to get me to one of their gigs. Their songs overflow with energy and quite honestly, it’s a struggle to stay seated during their set.

Cooks and Bakers

Influences: Nothing But Thieves, Ocean Alley, Pinegrove

Favourite Track: Wax

Cooks and Bakers are an alternative rock band made for live performance. Listening to their music transports you right into a seedy pub on a hot summer’s day. Their songs showcase a variety of different sounds, leaving you to wonder just how much more the boys have to offer.

Mango Avenue

Influences: B.B King, Hockey Dad, John Butler, Ocean Alley, Pink Floyd, Gang of Youths

Favourite Track: Lana

Mango Avenue really top off this line-up. Their songs are full of punchy lyrics, beachy vibes and great guitar riffs. Even their slow song, ‘Lana’, manages to pick up and give the crowd a great tune to dance along to.

It’s been a tough year for all of us, whether you lost your job, haven’t seen your family for months, had to drop out of Uni or just straight up had a bad time, remember to take a moment this month to go out and treat yourself to a schooner and some good music.


Feature Image: Pexels Edward Eyer, no changes made. 

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