CHERRY BAR – Farewell AC/DC Lane Street Party. Melbourne. 30-03-2019.

Words Mark Ireland.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.

For the past nineteen years Cherry Bar has been a huge part of not only my personal rock’n’roll life, but also of Melbourne’s. Any visitors who come to Melbourne who like live music, the one answer you give them is simply Cherry Bar.

What made this simple hole in the wall bar such a special place for music lovers, this can’t be told in one sentence, because it means so much to different people for many different reasons. For aspiring bands, it was a place to cut your teeth and get a chance to play on a legendary stage, it was intimate. There was no barrier between the bands and the stage, and it wouldn’t take much to fill. For touring musicians, it would be a place to kick back after a gig and maybe jump on the decks and turn the crowd on. Continue reading

DESERT HIGHWAYS CONTRIBUTORS TOP 10 LIST’S (+ MORE) FOR 2018!

Here’s a few of the Desert Highways team’s Top lists for 2018. Thank you all for your support again throughout 2018, it’s very much appreciated! Also a massive thanx to all of our contributors. Very proud to work with such an incredibly talented group of people!

Mark Ireland – Writer.

Best gigs 2018:
Power TripBendigo Hotel.
Roger WatersRod Lavar Arena.
MAMMALCroxton Bandroom.
Streaker Gate Benefit GigGasometer.
Meredith Music Festival: The Presets, Billy Bragg, Little Ugly Girls.
The Stems, Even Northcote Social Club.
Boogie Festival: Cable Ties, Clowns, The Southern River Band, Birdcloud, Cash Savage.
Golden Plains Festival: Mogwai, Baker Boy, Black Angels.
Stiff Little FingersCroxton Bandroom.
Download Festival: NoFx, Hot Water Music, Prophets of Rage, Arch Enemy.
BeckMargaret Court Arena.
David ByrneMargaret Court Arena.
The Demon Parade – Psych FestThe Tote Hotel.
Fuck The Fitzroy Doom Scene, El Colosso Sookie Lounge.
ShameThe Tote Hotel.
Future Of The LeftThe Old Bar.

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MMW: CIVIC SOUNDS LANEWAY FESTIVAL – Regurgitator, Nai Palm, RVG, Ro, Auntie Leo & The Backstabbers, The Bennies, The Cherry Dolls, Bec Sandridge, Destrends, IV League, The Grogans, Batz, DPRS – Democratic Peoples Republic of Surf. Cherry Bar, AC/DC Lane, Melbourne. 18-11-2018.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.
Photos Zo Damage.

Opening up AC/DC laneway as a part of Melbourne Music Week, the infamous Cherry Bar plays home to this year’s Civic Laneway Festival. Hosting a diverse variety of some of our cities finest bands, the venue has organised a set-up catering to the diverse line-up, with the inside stage adorning its regular velvet red backdrop, the outside stage boasts a similar rock n roll aesthetic.

On the outside stage, DPRS (AKA Democratic People’s Republic of Surf) began the day with their soothing surf melodies, welcoming the early arrivers into the festival with their catchy summer tunes. Following on are Batz, with front-woman Christina Albury flipping off her bandmates for arriving late. Their garage-disco melodies sweep our feet into motion, as we groove across of the laneway’s heating concrete.

Leading us inside with their catchy grunge openers, The Grogans take to the Cherry Stage with high energies as the three-piece supercharge us into the early afternoon. Outside, IV League channel their contagious choruses through the amplifiers as punters begin to congregate under the sunshine to experience their performance. Continue reading

Five Things Desert Highways Thinks You Should Check Out At MMW!

With MMW (Melbourne Music Week) fast approaching, we thought we put a quick list together of the Top 5 gigs we think you should get along to. With 9 days of “city-wide musical domination, discussion and distortion” from 16-24 November which includes an electric line-up of local and international acts, this year’s program pushes the boundaries of traditional live music formats, blurring the line between art, film, design, and music. The extended program features multi-sensory and VR experiences, parties, workshops, talks, cinema and loads more! For all events and information, please check out the MMW site HERE. Continue reading

CHERRY ROCK 2018. Cosmic Psychos, The Cribs (UK), Kid Congo Sex Beat Party (US), Cash Savage & The Last Drinks, The Mamas, The Chats, Fulton Street, The Southern River Band, Fluff, Gabriella Cohen, Diet, A. Swayze & The Ghosts, Pistol Peaches, WÜRST NÜRSE. Cherry Bar, Melbourne. 06-05-2018.

Words Mark Ireland.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.

Every year Melbourne rock city gets destroyed by Cherry Rock, the best street rock’n’roll festival. For twelve years it’s been promoting local and overseas rock and metal acts, giving them a chance to play to a massive festival crowd, this year was no exception.

Opening the festival was Wurst Nurse, they kicked off proceedings with their anthemic punk that electro shocked the crowd. It was unseasonably warm weather for Cherry Rock, good beer drinking weather, and A. Swayze & and the Ghosts from Tasmania were a great addition to the day, their unique post punk sound was what was needed to send the crowd left of centre.

I moved inside to catch Fluff before the bar got jammed. They play classic rock in the sense of Zeppelin and any other 70s band you could throw a bone at. Neil Wilkinson’s high shrill would put Robert Plant to shame, and local legend Danny Leo is in my opinion the best drummer in Australia hands down. His powerhouse style is something that could shatter a window a 100 metres away. Fluff have an album coming out in a couple of months, so todays set was a good chance to showcase the new material.

On the Furphy stage Gabriella Cohen was charming the crowd with her sweet crunching pop, an interesting inclusion to Cherry Rock.

Soul fever was potent when Fulton Street hit the Cherry Bar stage late in the afternoon, Shannon Wick’searth shattering vocals shook the venue to its foundations. The band have been regulars to Cherry’s legendary soul night, packing out the place on numerous occasions.

The Southern River Band are the new boys on the block and they’ve already earned their stripes by blowing crowds away at Queenscliff Music Festival and Boogie Festival, so todays set broke the crowd into tiny pieces. They’ve already honed that classic ‘Oz Rock’ sound, so the crowd just drank the energy the band threw at them. Their album is in high anticipation, so I think a return visit is definitely on the cards for the near future.
Inside again The Mamas sweet soul pop stylings had the crowd pack the dancefloor and cause a sweaty mess in no time.

I had heard a few things about The Chats, but nothing prepared me for what I saw, tight as fuck, killer riffs and it was all over in 30 minutes, that is rock’n’roll personified. And as one of their song goes, not even time for a ‘Smoko’!

Cash Savage and the Last Drinks have been a festival favorite for a number of years now, so the crowd warmed up to them straight away. Their gothic country blues was what was needed for a cold autumn night. Cash has incredible stage presence that commands attention, like Nick Cave she stands on the lip of the stage and draws the crowd in with every song, The Last Drinks are an amazing backing band that consists of two guitarists, drummer, fiddle player and bass player, so when the band break into ‘The Hypnotiser’, the sound that was created was like a man mad hurricane, with its slow build to its tumultuous climax, it really put the audience through the ringer.

The Cribs have been around since 2001, so it’s safe to say they know how to turn a crowd on its head. They played a varied set from a number of different albums, their latest album 24-7 Rock Star Shit has one of the best titles from last year. As soon as they hit the stage they don’t fuck around and its straight down to business, slaying the crowd with anthemic indie rock gems.

Closing off the Cherry Bar stage was a DJ set from Kid Congo, he played a killer set of mod hits, surf rock and classics from Bowie and Suzi Quatro, the crowd flooded the dance floor immediately as he hit the decks.

What else can be said about The Cosmic Psychos, they are the stuff of legend! Their influence runs deep not only in Aussie bands but also you can hear their sound in many 90s American bands too.

When they ripped out their classic ‘Nice Day To Go The Pub’, the crowds sing a long could have been heard on the other side of the Yarra! The buzz saw bass blast of ‘Dead in a Ditch’ deafened me within seconds. They ended the night with the classic ‘Lost Cause’. The Psychos haven’t changed their sound in over 30 years, the saying ‘If it Aint Broke Don’t Fix It’ was probably coined after seeing the band at the Tote.

After twelve years Cherry Rock is still selling out and looks it won’t be slowing down anytime soon. James Young, co-owner of Cherry Bar and one of the head honchos behind the festival is one of the biggest supporters of live music in Melbourne, and Cherry Rock is the love child of his support of local rock and roll.

Melbourne loves Cherry Rock and Cherry Rock loves Melbourne.

NICK OLIVERI, My Left Boot. The Cherry Bar, Melbourne. 29-03-2017.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Sally Townsend Photography.

For Australia it’s certainly turned into the year for the Kyuss / QOTSA member tour! Rex Everything with the Dwarves in April / May, Brant Bjork also May, QOTSA just announced they’re playing Splendour at the end of July and of course Mojo Burning bringing out Nick Oliveri!

As well as playing the Mojo Burning Fest in Brisbane, Oliveri has been touring and playing two sets a night. Firstly, his Death Acoustic set, a mix of covers and originals played on his acoustic yet sung like he’s on stage with a fully amplified band; and then a second electric set with a local backing band. For Melbourne it was the always impressive My Left Boot. Continue reading

ROCK DOGS PIE NIGHT! Featuring Ashley Naylor & The Rock Dog All-Stars (Dave Larkin, Anna Liendhop, Koral Chandler, Danny Walsh, Lucy Dwyer, Tim Woods & more) + Sherrin & The Needles. Cherry Bar, Melbourne. 24-06-2016.

Photos Suzanne Phoenix – Photos Punctuate My Life.


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ZIPPER DOWN UNDER – ‘Eagles of Death Metal’ Charity Event! Cherry Bar, Melbourne. 02-01-2016.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Adam Russ – Right Eye Media Australia.

The attacks that took place in Paris and especially at the Bataclan on the evening of November 13, 2015 was very close to home for a lot of us. I and a lot of my friends from all around the world go to see Eagles of Death Metal whenever they’re in town. It could’ve been any of us killed. Friends of ours know people that were at that gig and although one of them was shot, they luckily survived. Many of them did not. The scars of all of the Paris attacks run very deeply, as they do with events like this that happen throughout many countries daily. The attack at the Bataclan seems so far removed from everything that Eagles of Death Metal are all about; Peace, Love and Death Metal. Continue reading