It’s the vibe

Popular music scholar Sam Whiting has drawn on his first-hand experience of the music scenes in Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane for a new book exploring the role ­– and precarious nature ­– of small venues.

Music scholar and author Sam Whiting.

“Small live music venues are essential to maintaining a vibrant live music culture and we know from cities around the world – including here in Adelaide – that small venues facilitate social connection and grassroots culture,” says Whiting, a lecturer in Creative Industries at the University of South Australia.

“Because these cultural spaces are so niche, they are also precarious business operations that must achieve a balance between financial viability and leading-edge creativity.”

Small Venues which was recently launched in Adelaide with an event at the Grace Emily (one of the venues featured in the book) and will have another launch next month at The Old Bar in Melbourne’s Fitzroy – expands on these issues, including the added challenges caused by the pandemic.

Whiting says that while gigs in small bars, pubs and clubs have helped launch the careers of many famous musicians, they also offer music lovers a more intimate experience.

“People often recount the space itself, how they moved through it, the volume of the crowd, the energy of the performance, the banter, the sweat, the booze, the sensation, the atmosphere – the vibe. These experiences are the everyday interactions with live music that build connection, contribution and belonging.”

UKARIA season launch

Momentum Ensemble will perform at UKARIA in April. Photo: Maja Baska

Grammy-nominated British vocal ensemble VOCES8 and New York-based string quartet Brooklyn Rider are among the artists bound for UKARIA next year.

The Adelaide Hills venue has just released details of its February-July 2024 season, which will open with two performances by British pianist Paul Lewis to complete his mission to play all of Schubert’s sonatas in four concerts over two years in different parts of the world. Later the same month, Brooklyn Rider will present two programs that UKARIA says “redefine how we think about the string quartet today”.

VOCES8 will play three concerts as part of the A Cappella Academy in June, while the Australian Youth Orchestra’s Momentum Ensemble will be joined by soprano Rachelle Durkin for a performance in April centred around HK Gruber’s Frankenstein!! 

Other artists included in the season include the Australian String Quartet, New York-based  JACK Quartet and The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam, while Toby Chadd has curated a new series celebrating Australian artists and the jazz icons who have inspired them. UKARIA has also announced that celebrated violinist Joshua Bell will be playing two concerts in December next year. Details of all the concerts are now online.

Encore screenings

Adelaide Film Festival has announced encore screenings of eight of the most popular films in this year’s line-up, including the opening night outback thriller The Royal Hotel and French courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall (below).

The newly added screenings, running from October 28 until November 1, also include Poor Things – starring Emma Stone and described by our reviewer as  “an exhilaratingly bonkers Victorian morality tale” – and Isla’s Way, a local documentary about carriage-driving, sheep-shearing queer octogenarian Isla Roberts. Other films in the list are Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Monster,  SA-made feature Emotion is Dead, UK drama All of Us Strangers (starring Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell, Andrew Scott and Claire Foy), and Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days.

See the screening details here, and read all InReview’s Adelaide Film Festival stories and reviews here.

Bodies of Work

Cultural policy, the challenges of AI, the Hollywood strikes and the history of artists working with unions in Australia are among the topics expected to be covered by talks at the Bodies of Work symposium from November 1-3.

Vitalstatistix and Reset Arts and Culture will present the three-day event at Port Adelaide’s Waterside Workers’ Hall, with speakers including policy experts, academics, artists and activists. It will open with a keynote address by Vitals’ artistic director Emma Webb, offering “A love letter to, and potted history of, the Waterside Workers’ Hall”, with other sessions including a panel discussion about “Art and Working Life” and a workshop on campaign planning.

Day two will focus on a basic income for artists and feature two international guest speakers offering an insight into the successful campaign for a basic income in Ireland and lessons learned from the first year of its implementation. The symposium will also include an in-conversation event with SA Arts Minister Andrea Michaels (presented by the Arts Industry Council of SA), and two “darkly funny and smart performance lectures” from Melbourne-based artist Catherine Ryan.

The Bodies of Work symposium promises to be an inspiring, community-building event,” Vitals says. “It is free (bookings essential) and open to anyone interested in art, activism, history, culture, and democracy.”

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture.

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