The 7th annual CMC (Country Music Channel on Foxtel) Awards were held last Thursday night (started writing this blog days ago & then there was a server issue!) & what a night! I'm pretty sure I've been to each awards nights from the humble beginnings in the wine barrel room in the Hunter Valley to this year's awards at the over 1000-seat capacity Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast.
I love my job but sometimes it can become same ol' same ol - so nights like these where you see the best of the best not only in Australian country music but international acts too, you realise how truly blessed you are - love my job!
It's always fun catching up with others in the industry too - not only clients, past & present but also... I guess you'd call them colleagues... normally I'm stuck in my office in Maroubra, NSW (so many people still think I'm a Queenslander... um NO!) so it's good to get out & see what everyone else has been up to!
Highlights for me of course were Little Big Town (even though I saw them in Sydney on the Tuesday night before - can't get enough of them!), seeing Charles Esten (aka Chip - took me a while to realise that's the American nickname for Charles, why not just call him Charlie?? aka Deacon 'Freakin' Claybourne of TV's Nashville) in the flesh and Travis Collins adding 4 (3x solo awards + 1x award with The Outlaws) more trophies to his ever-growing collection (he won three Golden Guitars in January too!) - I've worked with Travis for a while now, so this was very cool - a long time coming but well-deserved!
Overall a fab night... with performances from Little Big Town, Kip Moore, Travis Collins, Craig Campbell, Troy Cassar-Daley, The McClymonts & Lee Kernaghan was inducted into the Hall Of Fame!
Huge thanks to the CMC team for always including little ol' KrisKat Publicity in your big night! The future of country music in Australia is lookin' good!
Look for #CMCAwards reruns on Channel 815 on Foxtel
1pm AEST Monday April 3rd
The recent Justin Bieber tour has got me thinking… no I didn’t attend but I had some teen cousins come from Adelaide to see him in Sydney & I was concert transport. So over the three days there was lots of Bieber talk & naturally of my own fan-girl ways. Some of you will know I am a huge Bon Jovi/Sambora fan, have been for 30 years and have been blessed to seem them around the world & meet them a time or two.
The girls wanted to try & meet Biebs – yeah good luck! They asked for my expert advice/tips etc But I asked the question, ‘Do you really want to risk him yelling at you?’ Yes, I like many others saw the ‘news’ reports of Biebs telling a ‘heartbroken’ fan ‘you make me sick’… I knew there would be more to that story! Thing is this ‘fan’ had stalked him the whole day, he had repeatedly told her I don’t want to have my photo taken, still she persisted & said 'I'm going to take it anyway'. So when she eventually got her prized selfie with a sullen Biebs and then he gave her a few choice words she was heartbroken… wow really you’re shocked he eventually cracked and had a go? Come on!
I am by no means condoning his behaviour on this occasion or others but seriously I would never want to be famous, I’ll take the fortune but NOT the fame. Cousin Irini sent me a link to another story as I started to write this blog, the story was titled “Bieber Eats Out In Sydney As Crowd Of Young Women Watch Awkwardly” – seriously there was about 17 girls just watching him eat! After he ate, he tried to get away and had to run down the street as they chased… insane! And before anyone says I shouldn’t talk (my brother would! Has called me ‘stalker’ for years) I must point out I would never stand & stare as my fav rockstar ate… I would hope to be eating with him – just kidding! Seriously… there is a line - when they are eating, with family or having obvious down-time, do not interrupt them or just stand & stare EVER!
As I said I have been blessed to meet my favs on a number of occasions and I would be mortified if they ever said to me ‘you make me sick or get out of my face’ or something similar. If I feel like I’m intruding on their time, I probably am! I guess this has come with age & experience but I have never been one to chase or squeal when I see my favs & yes even as I watch them in concert… I sing along (not audibly – nobody needs to hear me sing – ha!), clap, whistle and enjoy every second but squealing just ain’t for me. In recent years with Sambora, I was asked by security to come out from behind a pillar at a hotel – I was trying to stand out of the way but still catch a glimpse of the man, security thought I was planning my stalk… on this occasion I was mortified! I tried to explain to security he didn’t need to worry about me but not sure it worked, he doesn’t know me & his job is to keep Sambora safe & get him out of those situations… even though most of his fans aren’t teens, some can still be full-on!
So back to Bieber… why do these girls (or boys) act in this way? Just for the prize – a selfie with their idol? Just so they can say they’ve met the man, been in the same breathing space as him and have their five minutes of fame too? I wonder what those selfies look like? Are they worth it with Biebs looking totally pissed off & not happy to see you? Pass! I have never been a fan that needs to get a photo every time I meet my favs… I would much rather chat & let them know how much I enjoyed the latest album/concert etc Let’s be honest - the photo is a souvenir and to show off… nice to have but not necessarily worth it! (And yes I’ve had a shocker photo with Sambora… only because the camera was dodgy – I laugh about that now, my friend is still mortified – love you Connie!)
So I don’t get it… would you treat your friend or family member in that way? Continue to pester them, harass them, chase them, piss them off just to get a photo? Probably not, so why do it to your idol/fav pop/rockstar? I would much prefer to say thank you… not sorry! (See what I did there?) And at the end of the day, they are human & put on their pants, one leg at a time, just like the rest of us… sure their day to day lives are different BUT just like everyone else they need space & some time for themselves… when they are working that’s a different story but when they are trying to eat or enjoy some down-time after a gig, it doesn’t give you the right to ask for more of their time.
I have always said we ‘choose’ to be fans, they don’t owe us anything… most rockstars do appreciate & try to show their appreciation to long-time/diehard fans but it doesn’t mean they all will or should! Especially when Biebs has asked for fans to calm down, not treat him like a piece of meat etc he’s not going to change his mind when you are squealing at him, watching him eat or chasing him down the street… keep it together & maybe just maybe you’ll get to speak with him & gasp… even get a selfie! <<Insert fan-girl squeal here!>>
How much do I love this show? Well I binged on the first five seasons in three weeks... that's how much! I had heard about this series and of course seen the promo shots (and let's be honest ladies & gents, what's not to love?) but I wasn't sure it would be a TV show I would enjoy... but yes I admit it, I was God-damn wrong! Yep sometimes the legalese did go over my head but with each episode you think surely Harvey Specter (portrayed by Gabriel Macht)
& Mike Ross (Patrick J Adams)
won't win this one & some how they always do. On the surface this show is about the law & lives of NYC corporate lawyers (including Rachel Zane
played by Meghan Markle
- yes the actress dating Prince Harry) but ultimately it's about relationships esp family including non-blood relatives. And the lengths we'll go to, to protect the members of our family. Along with the emotions come the endless witty & clever statements including the classic movie-line banter between most of the main cast - genius! Fabulous cast but I must make special mention of the cat-loving, mudding enthusiast Luis Litt
) and Donna Paulsen
, she who knows everything about everyone (Sarah Rafferty
So much to love about this series... if you're looking for something new to watch in 2017, then jump on board - you won't be disappointed! Here in Australia Universal Channel on Foxtel is currently playing the final few episodes of Season 5, with Season 6 starting next Thursday Jan 12th, Netflix has the first five seasons - although there are another six episodes of Season 5 that Netflix hasn't obtained yet - weird! - I couldn't be stuffed waiting around for 10am each day to watch on Foxtel, so I purchased the final six episodes on GooglePlay and at $2.99 for each episode which you can cast to most TVs (SmartTV or with a Chromecast) definitely worth it! Seasons 1 - 4 are $14.99 for each season, Season 5 is $19.99 & Season 6 is $33.49... I might wait till next Thursday when Season 6 starts on Foxtel + I'll be back at work by then too! (iTunes prices should be similar). I won't give too much more away but yes Season 5 definitely ended on a cliffhanger... so glad I started to watch this series - a firm favourite & the fact that 'Suits'
(the longest-running original scripted series on the air) has been renewed for a seventh season makes me God-damn happy!
:Foxtel - Universal Channel Netflix GooglePlayiTunes
Obviously 2016 has been a year of musical lows, there's no doubt we've lost some of our most beloved heroes but for me there's also been some incredible musical highs... including 'One For The Road' (an all-star concert at Sydney's Enmore Theatre to raise money for the families of the victims of a deadly car accident that claimed much loved stage manager Shane Cooper and left drumming luminary Mick Skelton in a coma with serious injuries. Driven by the Support Act charity it featured Aussie music greats Hoodoo Gurus, Jimmy Barnes, Diesel, The Church, Dragon, Ian Moss, Baby Animals, Choirboys, Noiseworks + more!), Rob Thomas (Sydney Opera House & Clipsal 500 - Adelaide) Richard Marx at the aforementioned theatre and more recently Keith Urban (both Sydney shows). But of course my 2016 musical highlight was seeing RSO - Richie Sambora + Orianthi, four times on their Australia tour - their first time in OZ, under the banner RSO (they were here in 2014 on Richie's solo tour, with Orianthi as special guest).
Some may say four shows of the same act is excessive but I have been seeing multiple shows of my favourites for years now. And the final show in Brisbane raised my Bon Jovi/Sambora/RSO show tally to 80 - again some would say excessive but I wouldn't change a thing! Yes it's now a Bon Jovi/Sambora/RSO show tally for obvious reasons but my tally has always included band, solo & big events, so the count stands. This year also marked 30 years of my Jovi/Sambora fandom, so of course when Richie left the band in 2013 I was devastated (& seeing the band that year without him was certainly no musical highlight BUT with time & the following year's solo tour & this year's RSO tour, I have now come to the realisation he made the right decision. Seeing him so happy on-stage & off is an absolute delight!)
The decision to see all four RSO shows was a no-brainer for me but the ticket/show package prices surely helped - I certainly didn't need to sell my remaining kidney! With tickets going on sale the month before the late September tour, there wasn't much time for the anxious wait (well maybe just a little!) before I was off on a mini-tour (not sure I could now handle the likes of 2000s Crush Tour when I saw 23 shows overseas - as they left Australia off the world-tour map). Orianthi's hometown Adelaide was first up as RSO performed at the city's Entertainment Centre - I had a meet 'n' greet package for this show, so the night started off with soundcheck (always cool to hear a band run through what they'll be playing later) followed by the chance to say a quick hello/thank you and grab a happy snap (relieved to get a much clearer pic with Richie again - 2014's attempts were laughable at the least. Firstly a fellow 'fan' wouldn't take a pic for me & then a camera failure turned us into aliens!) Highlights from the 1st show were the gig's opener 'When Love Comes To Town' (U2/BB King), Orianthi's rockin' hit 'Heaven In This Hell' & the encore 'Wanted Dead Or Alive' (the reason I became hooked on Jovi!).
From Adelaide we flew to Melbourne for soundcheck & show at the Margaret Court Arena - I won't say too much about this show but yes it was odd. Should have known it wasn't going to go well as our flight was delayed, we waited a ridiculous amount of time for our hotel shuttle, no time to get properly ready for the show, pretty much got to our hotel & had to leave for the venue... yes they were late getting on stage but having been to 1000s of gigs & working in the industry, I have come to know there could be a number of reasons for this. And to point the finger at someone or some thing... is ridiculous. But I do know when there's no spotlight on the star while performing a solo or even when he mentions no lights, there's an issue! Aside from the hiccups, I did enjoy this show... most notably 'Pride & Joy' (Stevie Ray Vaughan), 'Black Or White' (Michael Jackson) & Richie's 'Every Road Leads Home To You'.
My hometown Sydney was next... I love shows at the Enmore Theatre and this was no exception! After the less-than-stellar Melbourne show, we knew things 'would be alright on the night' as we lined up outside the theatre, we could hear a proper soundcheck going on that lasted almost an hour. Once we got into the venue for our part of the soundcheck, you could tell things were still being ironed out - all good by me, you can tell these performers are perfectionists and it means we will be guaranteed a show to remember! My friend who I've done all my OS touring with was by-chance back home & at this gig, we hadn't seen a show together since 2010 - so it was going to be a special night. I have been lucky enough to meet each Jovi member on several occasions and most were made possible by my mate, so seeing her say hi to Richie again was very cool... he did remember her from all the years of touring & it was a special moment to witness. There was a photo taken of us with Richie but not sure we'll ever see it - hopefully it'll turn up one day! Come showtime, it was evident that band and crew were back to their undeniable best - no hiccups tonight! Absolute highlight 'Harlem Rain' (Richie Sambora) in acoustic mode (which the King Of Swing pointed out was the first time he'd played it live) + 'Voodoo Child' (Slight Return) (Jimi Hendrix) + Orianthi's bluesy number 'How Do You Sleep'. My sister & 16-year-old nephew were also at this show - the nephew is now a huge Richie fan (was already in awe of Orianthi, as his musical hero is MJ) - I feel like my work is done here!
And we come to the final night at Brisbane's Eatons Hill Hotel - as I mentioned earlier, this marked my 80th show and will always remain an absolute favourite! Meet 'n' greet was done before soundcheck for this show & this time I managed a few more words than usual... I thanked RSO for these shows and mentioned how beautiful it was to see Richie happy on-stage & off, I have a feeling he appreciated this as he commented they (both he & Ori) were very happy, I replied 'absolutely you guys are incredible together!' Of course I wanted to say more but was ushered out as Richie thanked me for coming... I know that's said to each & every one of us but still, makes me smile - he has no idea how much I have to thank him for!
I would love to say my hometown was the best of the bunch but Brisbane wins! Longer set-list & Richie becoming a human jukebox for the majority of the encore when he asked us what we wanted to hear, has to clinch the victory! He looked at me a few times waiting for my request but I am truthfully happy to hear that man sing anything plus who is hearing my voice over all the others - ha! We were treated to some Sambora gems including the 1991 'Stranger In This Town' album closer 'The Answer' (we also got the album title track earlier in the evening), the often-requested but rarely played 'Rosie', 1998's 'Undiscovered Soul' album opener 'Made In America' & the perfect modern-day bridal waltz 'All That Really Matters' . The band rejoined Richie and they finished up with the 80s classic 'Wanted Dead Or Alive' - perfect ending to a perfect tour! Must make special mention of the RSO touring band... Michael Bradford on bass, Veronica Bellino on drums & Adelaide muso Rob Vorel on keys - very tight band, loved watching you guys play - thank you!
And huge thanks to Connie - my touring partner in crime, hope we can do it again & soon! We hear the RSO debut album should be released in the 1st quarter of 2017 (don't take that as gospel - things change esp in the crazy business that is rock 'n' roll!) & this fan is sure as hell ready! Thank you doesn't seem to cut it but thank you for sharing your time & talent - here's to the next time! Bring on 2017 & the new music... Xxx
So many hits & so many memories! Thank you GM!
When I initially read the headline, I immediately hit Google... Surely it was a hoax! 5 mins later with no real results & with more credible sources reporting the pop icon's death... the realisation had hit, 2016 had summoned another of our musical heroes! As it was Boxing Day here in Australia, my first reaction was... seriously with 5 days left, you hadn't taken enough of them?!?!? As with Prince & Bowie I was in sudden shock & sadness. And then thoughts turned to my cousin, WHAM and then George solo were her absolute favs! I remember her bedroom walls plastered with George & Andrew and their music was on constant repeat. When the unthinkable happened & the duo called it quits, she went home early from school... Like most of the teenage girl population she was in mourning. Yesterday (& today & for a while to come) she mourned again. While I love George & his music, my tears were for her & the memories we shared... His music has formed part of our lives' soundtrack. And this is what I would point out to those who have criticised the outpouring of grief. Yes we might not have known him personally but when you have loved someone (albeit from afar) for so long, the grief & sadness will surface. When we sing along to their lyrics & it evokes whatever emotion, there's a connection that can last a lifetime! One of my biggest musical regrets is never seeing you live, but I do remember the last time you were here, I could hear your performance from my place!
All I could impart to my cousin was 'turn his music up loud & smile at the memories'... While I think to myself, lord only knows how I will react & cope with such news about my musical heroes 💜💔
RIP George Michael, YOG, Yiorg - eternal thanks for the music & a lifetime of memories xxx
Love this album... Back on constant repeat!
© Kris Katsanis, 2016 - Keith live in Sydney
So it's been over a week since Keith Urban toured the country & ended his 71 date RIPcord World Tour down under BUT I can still vividly remember the shows & I listen to Keiffy any chance I get! Our Keiffy (yeah I know he was born in NZ & has lived in the US for years now but we'll claim him any day of the week!) is a true performer in every sense. From the minute he strides on to the stage, you know you are in for a memorable night! His guitar skills are totally underrated & I recommend any guitar nerds to check him out. The energy level of the all-male band never wavers & is totally infectious - when Keiffy tells the entire crowd to jump, every single audience members is bouncing off the floor! Your author was lucky enough to attend both Sydney shows and is hard pressed to pick a favourite... Crowd might have been a smidge more energetic at Qudos Bank Arena but they performed 'I Told You So' at Sydney's new ICC Arena so it's a tough one! While they performed many new tracks from the current album the set lists were peppered with plenty of the hits including 'Where The Black Top Ends' from Urban's self-titled American debut album and 'Stupid Boy' which snagged Keiffy a Grammy award in 2008. The addition of Carrie Underwood to the Aussie leg of the tour was a perfect fit considering the cross-over success of their duet ' The Fighter' - of course this was a highlight of the shows! Carrie is an amazing singer - the girl sure has some pipes! Her rendition of 'I Will Always Love You' in honour of her idol Dolly Parton is simply sublime. Local support act Buchanan were impressive - am sure we will hear more from these guys. Overall two awesome shows - in my humble opinion, you can't leave a Keiffy show without the feeling that you were entertained! Ticket prices are in no way excessive & absolutely worth every penny... Keith Urban = a top night out!
© Kris Katsanis, 2016 - Carrie kicks things off in Sydney
© Kris Katsanis, 2016 - Keith & Carrie live in Sydney
© Kris Katsanis, 2016 - Keiffy on the geetar
© Kris Katsanis, 2016 - Keith & Danny Rader
© Kris Katsanis, 2016 - the boys in the band farewell their crowd
Right off the bat I'm going to say I am over reality TV. Surely it's run its course?!?! Like most people I loved it when it first started but in this case enough is definitely enough! Must confess I do still enjoy the odd cooking show (MKR & Masterchef) but that's about it. I don't understand why bad reality ideas are still being churned out when we have so many fab Australian TV dramas to replace them. My favs from recent times are Doctor Doctor (Ch9), Wrong Girl (Ch10), 800 Words (Ch7), Secret Daughter (Ch7), The Kettering Incident (there had better be a season 2! - Foxtel's Showcase), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel's Showcase), Hyde & Seek (Ch9), Winners & Losers, (complete series on Plus7)... So much talent across the cast, crew & creators, why don't we utilise & celebrate it more? I know that if I had the choice of reality or drama, the latter would win every time! Here's to more Aussie drama! Let me know what you enjoy most...
I noticed something on my morning walk today, even though I've lived in the same place for over 40 years and have walked these cliff tops many many times! I guess the main reason is due to my fear of heights (something I've noticed later in life) but it made me realise, how many beautiful things do we miss as we race through our days? Had to share this beautiful image, captured on my Samsung S6 Edge, can only imagine how it would have turned out on a much more expensive & professional camera. I love where I live... what about you? Share your thoughts and pics!
Was on my daily walk this morning (see pic of the beautiful but sometimes stinky Gordon's Bay situated between Coogee & Clovelly on Sydney's eastern beaches) and remembered I have some live gigs coming up next week! Not much makes me happier than live music. Have always loved seeing my fav artists live in concert and that feeling just before lights go down is simply the best! Have lost count how many gigs I’ve seen over the years but it’s been over 30 years now. I’d need to ask my mate Linda how many times I’ve seen Keiffy (yep I can’t bring myself to call him Keith, even when googling him, I type Keiffy – ha!) as she’s been a long-time fan and was fortunate enough to see him at the Birkenhead Point Tavern (I think that was the pub) many many moons ago! Most people would dismiss Keiffy as a country crooner (can’t believe I just typed that, it’s something I try & avoid at all costs in my day job!) but he is always entertaining live and is totally underrated on the geetar! His band is consistently tight including one of the coolest dudes on the planet, Mr Jerry Flowers on bass. You never leave a Keiffy show with the feeling that you weren’t entertained… He knows how to connect with the audience and make you live in the moment. Looking forward to doing it all again next week - twice! Make sure you get there early to catch special guest Carrie Underwood! The Ripcord World Tour kicked off in Adelaide last night, heads to Melbourne & Canberra before rolling into Sydney next Tuesday at the Qudos Bank Arena & Thursday at the ICC Sydney Theatre (incidentally the first show at the brand new venue) – more details HERE or at Ticketek
I know, where have I been right? Have only recently (week before last) discovered the shenanigans at The Marbella! Netflix suggested I watch and I am glad I listened... I binged 2x seasons in 7 days. Not sure when I was hooked but probably the very beginning. From strong lead actors/characters, to the just as engaging secondary characters to the witty dialogue to the perfectly timed narration & onscreen comments, what’s not to love? I really thought this would be some fluff I could half watch/half listen to while doing something else but I quickly found myself hitting the little rewind button. Didn’t want to miss a second! I was Team Michael at the beginning but after initial thoughts of ‘who is this entitled rich ass-hat' (sorry Raf!!!) I could totally understand Jane's dilemma as I fell for both suitors. What a horrible predicament to be in? (Insert sarcasm here!) After 2x seasons I have come to realise that a perfect man (if he actually existed!) would be a little Michael and a little Rafael... Am I right? Have since found out this series has already aired in Australia via Eleven and Foxtel’s Fox 8... Yep where have I been?!?! I know! And I can’t believe I am going to say this... But thanks to Foxtel I only have to wait another week to once again hang out at The Marbella! To the cast, crew & writers.... Thank you! I haven’t been this engaged by a TV show in some time.
Don’t miss Jane The Virgin Season 3 from next Tuesday December 13th on Fox8 @ 8.30pm AEST | Catch Seasons 1 & 2 on Netflix now