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  • JO'B

Milk Records' 10th anniversary gig!

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

I have decided I am desperate to see this show (one of three being held in Melbourne while I am here). It's a slightly irrational need, as I saw Courtney on 13th November in London. It's not like she will never play London again. But I really want to see her, especially on her home turf. And I want another gig before the end of the year.


I can't buy a ticket anywhere, so sign up to something called Tixel (basically Twickets but Australian). Tixel messages me every time a ticket goes on sale, but I seem to miss out on what feels like hundreds of tickets being resold. Do Melbourne gig-goers who have tickets know something I don't? Has Courtney gone Jazz/Death Metal? I would be curious to see that if I am honest...


Also, do these music fans have some sort of preternatural awareness of when tickets are next going on sale? I miss out several times a day, which is frustrating. but I finally bag one ticket, which is great. BUT...I can't go without Mrs JO'B and I am frankly too much of a spoilt only child to give her the one ticket...I tell myself she would not enjoy it without me...

So I follow Tixel's advice and create a link to an auto-purchase and then share this on various FB groups, on Twitter, I even tap up a guy I know in Melbourne only via Facebook and music groups. The lovely Harry very kindly shares my post and link, and his friends advise I write to Milk Records and plead.


I do this, but also message her management company and her PR company. I am reminded of my Billie Eilish escapade...my friend's daughter wanted to see Billie when she was just taking off, but even then all three nights she played at Shepherd's Bush Empire were hideously sold out. £15 tickets (yes, she was only charging £15 then!) were selling on tout sites for £700...outrageous and thus making it impossible for my friend's 12 year old to go.


So, I found Billie's manager and emailed him, pleading to one music fan, from another music fan, on behalf of a new music fan. Result - he came back and sorted her four free tickets...and then on the night they discovered they also had backstage passes, so she got to meet Billie and Sam Smith, and was sat beside Stella McCartney...not a bad first gig...

Back to Melbourne. On the day, we finally get a second ticket - Tixel works! But then both Milk Records and her manager also email offering to put us on the guest list - Milk and Look Out Kid are both very generous, but I tell them we are in already and thank them...I wish it was this easy in the UK.

We head down to the venue, which is hip, laid-back, cool....and has a Meat Raffle on Tuesdays - God, I love Australia...Brixton Academy and The Lexington would be SO MUCH cooler if they had a meat raffle...


We catch the end of opening act Liz Stringer, who is charming, has a beautiful voice and plays a new song called Dangerous, and discusses her impatience at crap Christmas drivers...it would have been nice to have heard more.


As the lights come up after her set, we quickly engage in one of the joys of this Xmas break - Mullet spotting. Melbourne, like Hoxton 15 years ago, seems to think mullets are cool...they are not clearly, but they are EVERYWHERE. Two guys together seem to be rocking a mullet tribute to Hall & Oates....it's frankly alarming...

The next act takes the stage, and takes a moment to acknowledge that the Wurundjeri people are the true owners of the land on which we live and it's very moving and respectful. Unfortunately, a couple of Melbourne fashionistas talk through her intro speech - £50 says they will be bragging about seeing her, yet they show no respect. What do you do?


Kee'ahn's name comes from the Wik people (an Indigenous Australian group of people from an extensive zone on western Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland), meaning to dance, to sing, to play, Kee’ahn aims to honour her name and Ancestors through her soulful music. She has a strong Jeff Buckley meets Lianne La Havas meets Corinne Bailey Rae vibe - the Buckley vibe comes over strong on Reckless. Better Things has a real doowop feel. Sunset and Catch The Night are just pure pop hits. Definitely want to see her again, hope she makes it to London.

Third act Hachiku again opens by paying respect to the indigenous people and thanks them for the land they live in. Really respectful. The singer is quiet, understated, but the opening songs are belted out with Courtney Barnett filling in on lead guitar. They look like they'd pass as the Stranger Things house band, if such a thing existed. Zombie Slayer is tune-tastic, a standout and I will definitely give them another listen.

Fourth band Jade Imagine are not new to us, we saw them supporting Stella Donnelly back in 2019 when we were last here. The set feels a little downbeat, but I love Cold Memory and Stay In Your Zone from the new album. As the set proceeds, I realise it's not downbeat, it's just confident, assured, serene. It's subtle, introspective music, probably not best suited for a short 30 minute set like this, but it's great. I need to pick up their new album before we head back to Blighty - give them a listen, really worth checking out.

There is a raffle, raising money for legal support for indigenous people (Djirra) and there are some great prizes (though no meat, which I feel is a mistake). We buy six tickets and are delighted when E17, one of our tickets, is called out and we have won a Courtney Barnett merch pack - who knew Brian Harvey could have been our lucky mascot???


Then disaster strikes as Hachiku and the other woman drawing the tickets clearly don't understand how the raffle tickets work. All tickets begin with 'E', but there are blue, red and green tickets...they didn't call out the colours when they announced our winning ticket. We (and two others) are all told to come up at the end of the show and it will be sorted...

Then Courtney and her two piece band bound on stage and are off like bullets - to all our great relief, she has definitely NOT gone Jazz/Death Metal. There is no messing around, Rae Street, Avant Gardner, Depression, History Eraser, Pedestrian At Best are knocked out with aplomb and boundless energy. What the set lacks in length, it more than makes up for in punch. Mrs JO'B and I are dancing...


Courtney invites some of the previous acts back on stage, along with Julia Jacklin, who takes the lead and sings Carly Simon's You're So Vain, which is just fantastic. The audience are in full voice, all is good with the world.


I think the set finished with Write A List Of Things To Look Forward To (though beers had been had, so it's not entirely clear) and then that's it.

Before we go, we head to the merch stall, with our red E17 ticket in hand - the ticket was dropped on the floor and looks a little beer stained and worse for wear (a bit like me and Mrs JO'B at this point). Hopeful for the perfect end to a great evening, we realise we are stood next to two women who also have E17 (green and blue versions). We anxiously wait for judgement to fall and....it's green! Boo, we missed out, but it would be churlish to complain and it's all for a great cause.


This has been a cracking gig, short tight sets and two new acts to check out soon. Plus Melbourne's music fans, labels and management have shown themselves to be welcoming and so helpful. Just lose the mullets guys, just lose the mullets...


And that's the last gig of 2022! Lots more planned for 2023 already - take a look - We've got a ticket to ride...our gigs for 2023!

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