Live review: The Offspring + Sum 41 – Brisbane Riverstage – 14th December 2022

On their first Australian headline tour in 18 years and with more than 40 million albums under their belt, punk-rock stalwarts the Offspring have both nothing to prove and everything to prove on a balmy Brisbane school night at a sold-out Riverstage. So how did the much-lauded Californians’ set go down?

First up was Sum 41; the Canadian pop-punk quintet wasted no time getting boneheaded with a series of their greatest ‘hits’ mixed in with some clinical annihilations of classic rock standards and painfully contrived and contradictory audience requests ranging from “Let’s get crazy motherfuckers!” and “Let’s get a circle pit going!” to “Let’s look after each other tonight and make sure nobody gets hurt!” courtesy of dufus frontman Deryck Whibley.

Early-career lowlights ‘Motivation’, ‘The Hell Song’ and ‘Over my Head’ kicked off proceedings; the latter during which Whibley attempted to get the aforementioned circle pit happening (which wasn’t quite getting past first gear on a hot South-East Queensland evening), before the singer urged the audience to get their phone torches out for dirgy ballad ‘Walking Disaster’.

‘All Killer No Filler’ singles ‘In Too Deep’ and ‘Fat Lip’ had the capacity audience breaking (even more of) a sweat, but perhaps the most drippy moment came when Whibley & Co. showed their only flicker of a sense of humour for the evening with excerpts of ‘Smoke on the Water’ and ‘Seven Nation Army’, and the execution of a crime against musical majesty with a brutal demolition of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’.

The headliners are, thankfully, immediately classy from the off; it was clear the Offspring were here to play like the seasoned musicians they are, but not take themselves too seriously and be smart enough not to try to be too smart, despite the assorted PhDs and tertiary qualifications famously sported by various band members.

Early setlist highlights included ‘Come Out and Play’, ‘Want You Bad’, and the Trump-baiting recent single ‘Let the Bad Times Roll’, which fitted among earlier career tracks particularly well. ‘Original Prankster’ felt like it had been thrown away early at only 8:50pm but went down a storm before the silly mid-show ‘Noodle Plays With Himself’ section saw guitarist Noodles thrash through an entertaining medley of excerpts of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, ‘Back in Black’, ‘The Trooper’, and Edvard Greig’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’. It was all deeply silly and infectiously good fun; just like the guitarist himself, who claimed “It’s hard to tell where Jimi Hendrix ends and I begin”, with tongue firmly in cheek.

The fun continued with an appropriately high-octane cover of ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ (excellent choice), and career classics ‘Why Don’t You Get a Job?’ and ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’ caused all phones in the vicinity to be held firmly aloft, and ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ provided the big finish before the band exited stage right to a Riverstage reverberating with appreciation.

With the venue’s infamous council-enforced 10pm cut-off time looming, there was no time to waste, and the Californians return to complete a deserved encore including ‘You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid’ in a big finish.

To bastardise a soccer metaphor, it was a gig of two halves with one side ultimately coming away with the plaudits, just like 9,000-odd Queenslanders likely came away sweaty and satisfied.

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Live review: Tame Impala – Brisbane Entertainment Centre – 18th October 2022

It’s been an age between drinks for Tame Impala and Brisbane, and with a sold-out Entertainment Centre clamouring to greet Kevin Parker and the boys, what couldn’t go perfectly right?

First up was local legend-in-the-making Sycco who looked born to do it on a stage this big and received a huge response from an already half-full Entertainment Centre for her efforts, most especially on final track ‘Dribble’.

Sycco

Next came Genesis Owusu and a lesson in owning a stage by sheer presence and force of personality alongside an energetic vocal performance and some killer lyrics. It’s hard to nail down just one thing that makes the Ghanaian-Australian such a powerful act when he seems to have it all; recent track ‘GTFO’ went down particularly well and lyrically could be Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’ for a new generation. There’s absolutely no stopping this guy based on this performance.

Genesis Owusu

The members of Tame Impala saunter onto the stage amid a retina-searing light display, dense dry ice, and reverberating screams of appreciation from a heaving Entertainment Centre, with Parker looking entirely unfazed by the circumstances in which he found himself. This is a band that has grown from its relatively humble WA psych-rock roots to be the international festival headliner it now is, so it’s easy to see why this experience is all in a day’s work for the multi-instrumentalist master. His show takes a simple approach: give the audience what it wants, do it in style, and do it BIG.

Tame Impala

This is the ‘Slow Rush’ tour, so that album’s songs feature heavily at all the big moments, including opener ‘One More Year’ and early tracks ‘Borderline’ and ‘Breathe Deeper’. However, having been around for over 14 years and with a back catalogue that most bands would die for, Parker and the gang can pull from all corners of their varied career and strike a chord with anything they pull out of the bag, as with ‘Nangs’, ‘Apocalypse Dreams’, and ‘Elephant’, before which Parker enquires of the crowd’s willingness to “get a little wild” – which it does in spades.

It was during an extended ‘Let it Happen’ that one of the band’s trademark moments comes with the launch of the confetti cannons at the drop, before a chilled-out ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ provided a cool counterpoint. This left only the need for a big finish to top off the show, which came in the form of ‘The Less I Know the Better’ and ‘One More Hour’.

It was all a truly mind-melting visual experience; the lighting was simultaneously mesmerising, trippy, and, at times, almost difficult not to turn away from. But in terms of Australian music, this band’s live experience is up with there with the very best. It definitely wasn’t slow; it definitely WAS a rush.

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The Corrs Return Down Under

It promises to be a party over 20 years in the making when Irish pop royalty The Corrs return to Australia for the first time since 2001 later this month.

The family quartet and touring band will perform at an exclusive one-night affair at Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley on 26th November, with their only other Australian appearance being a 250-person-capacity Q&A session at Sydney’s Carriageworks the evening prior.

Drummer Caroline Corr speaks of the band’s eagerness to return to one of the first countries outside of its own that took the Dundalk band to its heart from its early days.

“What was brilliant about Australia was it was the first territory where our first record sold and that people actually knew who we were,” she says. “We were still kind of obscure, but, bizarrely, ‘Forgiven, Not Forgotten’ did really well and so when we arrived there, we were wondering how so many people recognised us. Unbeknownst to ourselves, the record had been selling and it was a great feeling, and we had some amazing shows there. It was just so new and great. We’ve always talked about going back to Australia and finally we have an opportunity to go back.”

The multi-platinum selling band has sold over 40 million albums since their 1995 debut but last released an album in 2017, so does the Australian show announcement feel like a comeback?

“I suppose it does,” Corr says. “Although it depends how long we come back for. Maybe there’ll be many comebacks [laughs]. We seem to do a record and a tour, take a long break, then come back together and do something. The pandemic was obviously devastating for the music industry, and we probably postponed about three tours as it was impossible to go anywhere. Once the pandemic was over, we could figure out how to come back together. We’re talking about more touring and it’s just getting the right tour in place. For me, it’s how it feels to do it again. It’s nice to go to places where people haven’t seen us in a long time; it’s new for them and it’s new for us. That’s why Australia feels so nice for us.”

As a family affair the band has a unique musical understanding but that doesn’t mean they don’t still have to work at it.

“When we come back together it clicks, because it has to click,” Corr says. “We all have our own personalities and our little quirks, but we know each other so well. We’ve all obviously grown together and, as family, it wasn’t always easy being on the road together and it wasn’t always easy working together, but we’ve become much better at listening to each other and talking things through. Of course, there’s going to be things that piss you off, but you just move on.”

With 20 years between drinks, the band has set its sights on giving Australian fans – and undoubtedly a multitude of Irish ex-pats – exactly what they want.

“For Australia we are going to play what people really like and what people really know,” Corr says. “Australia has so many Irish ex-pats who have lived there for long periods of time, and it’s nice to connect with your country of origin and hear some Irish music, and we will be playing Irish music, of course. There were also certain songs that were released that did really well in Australia. We’re working on the setlist in our rehearsals in Dublin. Obviously, we’ll be doing ‘Dreams’. We’ll do ‘Breathless’. We’ll do some Irish music. I think it’ll be a good show.”

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Live review: BIGSOUND Live night three – 8th September 2022

It’s night three of BIGSOUND 2022 – hands up if you can still feel your legs. No, me neither. What else is to be done but get right into it?

The string of Rage Against the Machine tracks that played over the house system at the Loft gave some indication of what’s to follow when The Riot took to the stage. The Gold Coast quartet is made up of four very different musicians stylistically, but when it all comes together it works beautifully and provides the perfect start to another night of outstanding music.

The Riot

Over at the Outpost, Selve laid down some catchy grooves and upbeat vibes before a hugely appreciate audience with the levels of throwaway fun right on the money. Led by Jabbirr Jabbirr man Loki Liddle, the band provided one of the highlights of the evening early on; all killer synths and even more killer basslines, joined by much-loved Auslan interpreter Mikey Webb. A finale of Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ lifted hearts and spirits – these guys deserve a lot of attention from all the best people.

Selve

In the mall, Blute’s was once again packed to sardine levels as Platonic Sex took to the stage. The buzz around the Brisbane alt-rock four-piece was palpable, and early track ‘Devil’s Advocate’; all about letting go of the ball and chain of toxic masculinity showed why.

Platonic Sex

Wooly Mammoth Mane Stage was similarly rammed for an assured performance from Beckah Amani, who played a clutch of songs from her recently released EP, including the excellent ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, highlighting the singer-songwriter’s passion for ethical fashion choices and tackling climate change. The towering ‘Standards’ elicited enthusiastic audience participation Radio Ga Ga-style as Amani repeated “For a black woman like me / I’m standing up for my needs” alongside some deft guitar licks.

Beckah Amani

At O’Skulligans, up-and-coming folkie Sam Windley performed songs that appear soft and lovely on first listen but are laced with confusion and pain through the lyrics, while over at BLVD, Brisbane’s Yb grinned from ear to ear amid a smooth set of genre-bending indie/pop gems and tight musicianship.

Sam Windley

Dallas Woods promised he was “gonna take you all home to the East Kimberley” amid several audience interactions sprinkled through the Noongar rapper’s set at Summa House. Early track ‘Colorblind’ from the recent ‘Julie’s Boy’ EP hit home hard, and when joined by both members of Fly Boy Jack (who impressively upped the swear count immediately), the set kicked up several gears towards an epic finish.

Dallas Woods

At Sound Garden, bass player turned produced Tentendo described his BIGSOUND experience as “full-on, as I’m pretty introvert”, while producing an instantly classy, instantly catchy, instantly danceable, and instantly generally bloody impressive set of dance tracks alongside his keyboard player and drummer. What a find.

Tentendo

At the Loft, Jerome Farah set about unleashing something particularly special – even among so much bright talent over the past three days. From the second the Melburnian opened his lungs it was a show-stopper; the former dancer moved from smooth soul to soaring strength to rap and back again with ludicrous ease. “When my hair isn’t in braids, it’s in a huge afro,” he explains, mocking the constant requests from people wanting to touch it before ‘Afro’ kicks in. The lyric line “Why you gotta go and do that for? Please, white boy, don’t touch my afro” is delivered with humour and power, and the audience reacted with appreciation in spades. This was one of the best performances of the festival, and the perfect point to call it a day for this reviewer.

Jerome Farah

Now it’s time for that sweet, sweet sleep. Thank you and good night.

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Live review: BIGSOUND Live night two – 7th September 2022

It’s BIGSOUND night two of three – are you all hanging in there?

First up at Tomcat was Ok Hotel, who, despite being at only 75% capacity due to the loss of guitarist Lucy to illness (“She’s alive and well – we promise!”), delivered a powerful set of grunge-rock-vibed goodness mixed with some sweet melodies and a ramshackle charm. Their final track ‘Life is Crazy (Like That)’ hit home hard and reassured an appreciative audience that BIGSOUND was alive and kicking for a second night.

Ok Hotel

Over at Summa House Old Mervs delivered a more laid-back, easy-and-breezy vibe, while, at the Zoo, the Andrew Gurruwiwi Band got into some seriously funky jams; proving themselves to be an early highlight of the second night of the festival. The seven-piece Arnhem Land collective took a large and appreciative audience on a winding journey through a set of depth, heart and top-notch musicality; and they only got better as they went on. The maestro Gurruwiwi himself, looking effortlessly cool seated at the front of the stage in dark sunglasses, led the way through a captivating collection of tracks sung in Yolngu Matha.

Andrew Gurruwiwi Band

At Wooly Mammoth Mane Stage, Teenage Dads gathered quite the crowd and set about immediately going down a storm; all hip-wiggling, fist-pumping cringe in only the best ways possible. “It’s just a name. Don’t ask that question. It’s getting stale”, advises singer Jordan, pre-empting the very thought most likely on everyone’s minds.

Teenage Dads

At EC Venue, Flyboy Jack was spitting rhymes to a bouncing audience in what felt like one of those BIGSOUND moments you’ll tell people about in years to come. The quartet operated in perfect harmony, delivering cutting lyrics with a vibe that only drew a bigger crowd the longer the set lasted.

Flyboy Jack

The ebb and flow nature of movement between BIGSOUND venues means you can’t always get where you want as crowds gather and melt away, and the influx of people towards Teenage Joans unfortunately made the Loft unattainable for this reviewer. Based on the fervour for the band they must be doing something special.

Back at the Wooly Mammoth Mane Stage, the Rions seemed to have added even more people to an already heaving crowd left over from Teenage Dads; there was barely enough room to turn around in the cosy upstairs venue. The impossibly-young-looking but musically adept triple j Unearthed High winners delivered a slick set of indie-rock richness and marked themselves as ones to watch – with impressive ’70s-style moustaches to boot.

The Rions

At Prince Consort, Selfish Sons set about treating the pub gig setup almost like a stadium rock affair; all “Hey BIGSOUND, how we feeling?” and “Get your hands in the air, BIGSOUND!” call-outs, and, having already supported acts of the stature of The Kid Laroi, it’s probably clear why. The Brisbane trio worked hard and had a blast and, as a result, the audience had a blast too.

Selfish Sons

At Summa House, it was time for a big night two finale, and it came in the form of an epic performance from Butchulla rapper Birdz, accompanied by Fred Leone on vocals and didgeridoo. Opener ‘Aussie Aussie’ hit harder than anything on show so far, as did mid-set highlight ‘Fly’, before an all-conquering ‘Bagi-la-m Bargan’ closed out a punch-to-the-guts set of power, pride, and truth-telling in a BIGSOUND moment up there with the best.

Birdz with Fred Leone

One more day to go: let’s keep the BIGSOUND train a-rollin’ for another 24 hours.

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Live review: BIGSOUND Live night one – 6th September 2022

Back in the flesh for the first time since 2019 and celebrating its 21st birthday this year, BIGSOUND is back with a bang and then some in 2022.

With 300 performances over three nights to choose from, it’s impossible to be across all the up-and-coming talent on offer, but when there are so many unknown gems to uncover, the only way to do it is to dive right in.

First up was Brisbane-based Talk Heavy at Wooly Mammoth Mane Stage. The quartet opened with a warmly received Acknowledgement of Country before launching into an unholy racket of pop-punk goodness; all catchy, sardonic, and fun. Despite guitarist Pat jokingly exclaiming, “All our songs are about Bret Hart”, a collection of tracks from their upcoming EP, including ‘I Wanna Skate Again’ prove otherwise in a fine start to the evening.

Talk Heavy

Over at the Prince Consort, Sydney’s Enclave produced an altogether more ominous mood that probably would feel at home in the Road House in Twin Peaks on Halloween. With a darkly engaging frontman whose style and delivery sits somewhere between an intensely brooding Mick Jagger and Brandon Lee’s character in ‘The Crow’, the band is well worth checking out. Single ‘Bloodletting’ is a good entry point for this unique act.

Enclave

“Hello, BIGSOUND, we’re Future Static,” is the call at Ric’s Backyard as a flurry of high-octane, high-energy heavy rock is let loose on a captivated audience. The likely destruction of dozens of sets of eardrums aside, the Melbourne five-piece’s barrage of noise goes down a storm as singer Amariah Cook proved to be one of the most impressive of the night. Third song of the set and new single ‘Venenosa’ was a highlight.

Future Static

At the Zoo, Queen P wasn’t blasting the crowd with noise, but winning them over with charm, humour, and confidence, and proving herself to be a star in the making, if she isn’t one already. The diminutive rapper still managed to cajole the audience to get onboard with lines like, “This is BIGSOUND, not small sound!” and the audience responded in spades; most especially during a fun cover of Missy Elliott’s ‘Work It’.

Queen P

An absolutely rammed Blute’s Bar was the setting for Jem Cassar-Daley’s stylish blend of indie-pop, with the large, buzzing crowd including dad Troy. Opening with ‘Letting Go’ and moving into ‘Like It More’, the singer-songwriter and recent Queensland Music Award winner showed exactly why there’s been so much attention coming her way in recent times.

Jem Cassar-Daley

At Ivory Tusk, the call, “We’re Greatest Hits and we’re here to play them” opens the best performance of the evening based on a vibe of sheer throwaway fun and weirdness alone. The Gold Coast trio blend genres and styles effortlessly, with a sound akin to a synth-drenched sonic scream that puts the hook in you early and doesn’t let go. The vibe of simply wanting to have fun above anything else is a welcome approach at an industry festival, and the discipline of keeping up the schtick for a full 30 minutes is worthy of praise alone. ‘Palm Springs’, a song about “us never going to Palm Springs”, went over particularly nicely. Well played, Greatest Hits.

Greatest Hits

Around the corner at The Loft, Brisbane’s Hallie pulled off a slick pop masterclass with a set of cleverly crafted songs delivered with a powerful voice alongside a stage presence that belied their youth. Based on this performance, it’s easy to see how their fanbase could go from big to massive in no time at all.

Hallie

Back at Ivory Tusk, WILSN delivered arguably the most soulful set of the evening. The Melburnian’s bio opener, ‘Possessing the kind of voice that stops you in your tracks’ couldn’t be more on the money; her vocals provided a genuine ‘wow’ moment towards the end of an already talent-filled night of music.

WILSN

Back at The Loft, the crowd swelled for Noah Dillon, and the Fremantle singer-guitarist delivered in fine style to cap off BIGSOUND night one, with even one or two of the BIGSOUND staff getting side-tracked from their door duties to come in and join in or film the fun. Dillon doesn’t build slowly; opener ‘Alive and Kicking’ got the audience bouncing from the off, following it with ‘Drip Dry’ from the ‘Kill the Dove’ album to keep the party going.

Noah Dillon

Let’s see what the nights two and three have in store.

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Live Review: Songs of Hope and Healing – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane – 8th June 2022

A large and enthusiastic school-night audience filled QPAC’s concert hall for an evening of musical hope and healing to raise funds for HEAL (Home of Expressive Arts and Learning); a program that provides creative arts therapy to young people of refugee backgrounds.

Hosted by lawyer, CEO, human rights advocate, and refugee of the Soviet-Afghanistan conflict, Mariam Veiszadeh, the evening provided an eclectic and affecting mix of music to inspire collective belief and soothe the weary soul.

When it can feel like the walls are closing in, connecting through stories and songs has a way of breaking them down, and, following a Welcome to Country and self-written lullaby courtesy of Gudja Kerry, the hope and healing began with the QPAC Chamber Choir performing a sprightly version of Bill Withers’ ‘Lovely Day’.

Next was the first of two appearances from the outstanding headliner Mahalia Barnes; her powerful blues-rock vocals lifting the audience to another plane with a rendition of Helen Reddy’s ‘I Am Woman’, followed by a long and luscious ‘Ain’t Nobody Else’.

Mahalia Barnes

The most unique and captivating performance of the evening followed from JADE; a Brisbane-based ensemble featuring Japanese koto master Takako Haggarty Nishibori, Nepalese tabla virtuoso Dheeraj Shrestha, Australian guitarist Dr Anthony Garcia, and Wakka Wakka didgeridoo and keyboard player David Williams. The quartet played the subtle and stylish ‘Ancient Waters’ and ‘Fishbowl’, with Garcia relating the story of the latter track being written deep in the bowels of QPAC itself in an artist area known as the ‘fishbowl’ to the audience’s appreciation.

JADE

Next came Irish band Sásta (meaning ‘happy’ in Gaelic), who are warming up for an upcoming tour of France and Ireland, with the instrumental ‘Ron’s Time’ followed by ‘She Said’, which allowed singer-guitarist Mick Hughes’s deft vocals to come to the fore, before the QPAC Chamber Choir seized the opportunity to promote their upcoming ‘ABBA Evolution’ concert in August with their version of the Swedish legends’ recently released ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’.

Deline Briscoe changed the pace and injected a more direct storytelling approach with her songs ‘Sweet Frangipani’ and ‘Big Law’; the Yalanji woman relating tales of her grandfather’s youth on Palm Island, the sounds and smells of the place and time, and the injustice experienced by her family in a skewed justice system. Soft and mellow the telling of her stories may have began, but when the Cairns-based singer let her voice soar, strength and courage reverberated around the hall.

The Obscure Orchestra

The expansive stage was quickly filled by roughly 20 members of Matt Hsu’s Obscure Orchestra; the recent Queensland Music Award winners taking the audience on a whimsical journey through a three-track set including highlight ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’. One of Hsu’s trademark instruments, the $27.95 Mitre 10 saw, appeared as part of a fitting finale to the set of surely one of Brisbane’s most innovative groups.

Finale

And so, for the grand finale to send gig-goers home feeling healed and hopeful. Mahalia Barnes once again took to the stage to blow the roof off QPAC, performing mighty versions of ‘Three Times and I’m Gone’, ‘Little Light’, which she proudly dedicated to her 13-year-old daughter, and ‘You Are My Sunshine’, which saw the Obscure Orchestra return to the stage. The curtain came down after a final dose of thunder with ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, on which all performers from the evening collaborated to form the ultimate Australian super group (for one unique performance only).

On a chilly Tuesday evening, hope and healing never sounded so good.

Donate to HEAL at its website.

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Feature: My Kind of Chaos is Ready to Rip it Up

Source: My Kind of Chaos Facebook

Nic Griffiths may have been playing music for decades, but he’s never been as excited by a line-up than the one he’s part of now.

The singer-songwriter fronts Brisbane-Gold Coast heavy rock quartet My Kind of Chaos, and despite a few pandemic-related hurdles of late, Griffiths is as keen as ever to get out on the road and rock.

“We were rehearsing, and everything was going great,” he says. “And then the pandemic hit. We spent a lot of money on film clips and getting the album ready, and everything just fell apart. I nearly gave up, but I thought, ‘You know, I’m not gonna’. I kept going and managed to find the band we have now.”

The solidification of the line-up resulted in the completion of debut album ‘The Monster Stirs’; an eight-track collection of hard-driving rock.

“It started with myself and my friend who I’ve been playing music with for 30-odd years,” Griffith says. “We decided to write an album, and when it was finished, we would put a band together. We had this great drummer who brought his mate Mick [Norris], a bass player, and he came and played one song on the album. From there, Mick said ‘I’m in; I wanna be in the band’, so he stuck with us through thick and thin. Unfortunately, the drummer didn’t quite make it. Then, we found Cameron [Appleton-Seymour], our guitarist.”

The completion of the line-up by drummer Rick Zammit was the icing on the cake for Griffiths, taking the band’s musical chops up several notches.

“Only two months ago we found Rick, who just came off tour and was gig-ready,” he says. “He learnt the songs in four hours. When he came in to audition, it was about halfway through the first song that we realised we weren’t auditioning him anymore, he’s auditioning us. We’re happy to say we passed the test. During our rehearsals, I actually forget to sing because I’m admiring his drumrolls so much. The band that I have now is the band I’ve dreamt about my whole life; they are amazing, incredible musicians.”

With the line-up locked in the band’s manager started booking gigs and now the pandemic pains are in the past for Griffiths.

“We get a second crack at it,” he says. “We did pretty good overseas and that, but now we get to tour the album. The response so far has been amazing. It’s such a solid album as it was produced by double-ARIA-award-winner Anton Hagop. He did a fantastic job. We’re going to be touring all next year, for all those who’ve had their double jab.”

Having reached a level of contentment not experienced in recent times, you’d be forgiven for thinking a punk veteran might have mellowed. Not so; Griffith says there’s always something to be peeved about.

“I’ve come from a traditional punk background,” he says. “I was one of those teenage, pissed-off punks from back in the ‘90s. There’s always a bee in my bonnet about something. A lot of my songs are about life experiences. There’s a song on the album called ‘Making Zombies’, which is about the ice epidemic, which is everywhere. There’s a song on there called ‘Stop Running’, which is about me chasing success. There’s a song on there called ‘Euthanasia’, which is self-explanatory. I try not to write empty lyrics; there’s always a message in there. I think it was one of the things that attracted the other guys.”

Despite restrictions being eased and a new album unleashed into the world, Griffiths is not content to sit still just yet.

“We’ve released the first single off the second album already,” he says. “It’s called ‘Calm Down Karen’. I had a run-in with a ‘Karen’ in a store in Pacific Fair. It was ridiculous. She was just screaming, and I came home and wrote that song in two-and-a-half hours. The lyrics just wrote themselves. In hindsight it turned out really well.”

An upcoming run of shows will see the new line-up and material being simultaneously road-tested.

“We’ve got King Lear’s Throne on 28th November,” Griffith says. “Vinnies on the 10th of December, 13th January we’re at the Zoo, and we’ve just picked up our first festival at Jimna Rocks in April. Everything’s just exploded for us.”

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Feature: Hayden Thorpe is feeling all the Metafeelings on Moondust For My Diamond

Photo: Hayden Thorpe Facebook

Hayden Thorpe isn’t one for pondering the simple things in life.

The 35-year-old Englishman, formerly of the now—defunct Kendal indie darlings Wild Beasts, is much more of a big-picture kind of guy.

As keen to explore the wonders of the minutest chemical reactions in the inner wirings of the mind as he is societal-level shifts in thinking and action, and the vast and unknown wonders of the universe and beyond, the multi-instrumentalist is nothing if not intriguing.

Second album Moondust for My Diamond, a smoothly enchanting 12-track collection of cerebral and propulsive pop featuring production by Nathan Jenkins – aka Bullion – is clear evidence of this. Thorpe’s interests, from science, religion, humanity, the cosmos, sex, temptation, and contemplation of the end of days drip from every pore, filling the record with big questions and the wonder and anxiety of the possibilities of the things we don’t know, poised just out of reach.

It’s enough to make one contemplate several aspects of life and existence, albeit set to a slick soundtrack that builds on the sonic palettes of 2019 debut album Diviner and last year’s Aerial Songs EP.

The tunes are charming and understated but it’s Thorpe’s lyrical themes that prove most beguiling. In Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “Everyone now knows how to find the meaning of life within himself”, and Thorpe seems to have been on a grand Vonnegutian journey during the making of these songs. In fact, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine him locking himself away in a dank library for months on end, devouring all manner of obscure texts on philosophy, science and theology, before channelling it all into something he can set his countertenor vocals to.

“I’m an obsessive person but I’m also a person who has fads,” he says. “So, if you combine those two things, you get obsessive fads, into which I entirely immerse myself in practice, writing or theory. It becomes almost carnivorous; I need to imbibe it, put it in myself, become it for a while. I think most of the richness of the words come from there. I’m speaking like it’s quite a brutal process, but it is if you go quite deeply.”

Take lead single ‘The Universe is Always Right’. Probably never before or ever again will references to genies escaping bottles, Excalibur being pulled from stone and ‘cosmic arrows’ be made in a pop song. And certainly not one on an album that sounds as necessary as this. It’s clear from almost the get-go that Thorpe’s influences are many and varied, and he has used them to make surely one of the best albums of 2021.

“For this record, I got interested in Eastern mysticism, yoga and alternative practices,” he says. “My other hobby is science and I realised there are a lot of overlaps between the ways Eastern mysticism sees the universe and how science sees the universe. The difference is science medicalises the body and our emotions, but Eastern mysticism doesn’t; it actually incorporates the body, the mind, and the sense of the universe. Perhaps that is what is lacking in our terminology and our language; this sense of something beyond and how to incorporate the beyond into our very being. What goes on in those language spaces are spells; people are casting spells, and I say that in a very functional way. Casting spells is just an alignment of words; it’s just placing things in order. If you put certain words in a certain order, it elicits a chemical response in the body. It’s a very extraordinary thing. I wonder why all our songs are about love and spirit. Well, actually, it’s that invisible matter that stitches everything together; we can’t quantify it, we just know how we build our reality.”

It was exploring this meeting point between science and religion that led Thorpe to investigate the phenomenon of psychedelic therapy and a pioneering project integrating music and psychedelic drugs; an experience which has found its way most clearly into tracks ‘Suspended Animation’ and ‘Metafeeling’.

“Therapists are using this software while someone is in an induced psychedelic state; probably through psilocybin,” he says. “Basically, musicians contributed to a soundscape that the patient is listening to. I sang and contributed vocals and got really interested in both the practice of how I sing for somebody in that state and what would I do and how to contribute. It made me reflect on what singing is and what making music is. I got interested in it through a seminal book by Michael Pollan, ‘How to Change Your Mind’. It’s so interesting because I think you should always judge a civilisation by its drugs. Capitalism is very much the cocaine society, which is really about enlarging the ego. Whereas, in past civilisations the mushroom or other psychedelics have been the central theme of their civilisation. It’s inverse; actually shrinking the ego or dismantling the sense of self. Maybe we’re at a frontier now; we’re realising we’re all going around being encouraged to be warriors in our own way, going forth and it’s a dog-eat-dog-type world. But it’s clear that is creating so much damage, and it’s not sustainable. Secondly, it fucks the natural world when you do that too. Paul Stamets is one of my hero mycologists and he always states that the earth has already provided the operating manual for how we understand the natural world, and he says it’s psilocybin. We think the human point of view is the ultimate point of view, but I really don’t think that’s the case, personally.”

While a cocktail of energies ooze from Moondust for My Diamond, ensuring it sounds like a record put together by an artist with a simple love for the craft of songwriting on one hand, the flip side of Thorpe’s expansive thinking means he’s never far away from tackling the next big topic.

“We’re living through a reckoning,” he says. “There is a grand narrative of our time, where growth, success and aspiration are somehow virtuous qualities, and that is failing us. That is not working, and I’m so excited about what the music sounds like on the other side of that. If you think about it, music has always been co-opted by power; hymns and church music has always been the property of the church and therefore they have the spiritual ownership over peoples’ lives. Now, when big business owns most of music and hedge fund managers are buying up Bob Dylan songs and all the rest of it, you have to ask what is the spiritual value of songs now? I’m so interested in what is the other side of this; what language and what ways can we speak of the world beyond our own inner story. The legend of our time is absolutely our own inner world. We’re all encouraged to broadcast our every emotion. Songwriters especially, we’re meant to wave the flag of our emotions so boldly, and that’s supposed to be our currency. After a while of doing this, I’m thinking I’m getting more interested in the flagpole than the flag. There’s something beyond that’s worth getting it.”

While Thorpe contents himself with pondering many of the existential questions in life, he’s also a realist, and understands that being able to find the time and headspace to write and record new music, never mind release an album, during a global pandemic and in the uncertainty of post-Brexit Britain, is an achievement in itself.

“I think this moment does feel like one of the more extreme frontiers of record-releasing, bearing everything in mind,” he says. “The sheer manpower and force of will to bring music out now is significant, so I’m really proud that the work has emerged as it has. I’m surprised by the album; it’s unlikely. It’s emerged in unexpected ways and brought me unforeseen adventures, and for that I’m grateful. In the UK there’s definitely a kind of crosshair going on with the Brexit situation for musicians and the pandemic; but also, just the cultural landscape; the value system in which music works now. It’s been transformed. The metrics by which people judge value means that it’s nothing other than bold and chaotic to follow your music into that black hole. I believe in songs; their potency, their ability to convert a magical substance within the body. It’s also an extraordinary thing to devote most of your waking hours to obtain a level of beauty. That’s not to be too high-minded; it’s a form of utmost expression and at its fullest realisation, a moment of beauty. The dissonance of a functional human being as well as someone who is entirely entangled with the machinery of making music is probably the challenge, but the more I make music in my life things get even simpler and you don’t need much at all if you have your devotions.”

His live band includes Frank Ocean’s bass player, Ben Reed, drummer Fabian Prynn, and saxophonist Chris Duffin, who, Thorpe says, will allow him to “live out all my Springsteen fantasies”. A tour of Europe and the UK is on the cards for early 2022.

“It’s been four years since I played with a band,” he says. “Our first gig was an extraordinary sensation to feel that music again. I really like the practicality and theoretical way of doing gigs, which is me and a laptop going around, but it doesn’t have that virility that I want. I’m going to go forward with this killer band, which is a fabulous thing to be doing. I really want to live this one out properly.”

If Moondust for My Diamond is any indication, it’s sure to be a hell of a trip.

For PopMatters

Feature: Sara Storer’s Golden Country

Source: Sara Storer Facebook

The past couple of years have been slow for so many musicians, but beloved Australian singer-songwriter Sara Storer has been quietly productive behind the scenes.

The multiple Golden Guitar-winner has been spending the time putting together a wealth of new material before her appearance at Groundwater Country Music Festival.

“I released my new album the year before COVID hit and managed to get a lot of my touring out of the way and get the album out there,” she says. “Then we moved to Darwin early in 2020 and that was the start of COVID, and of all places to have moved to, the territory is pretty damn good when it comes to lockdowns and everything else. While the music industry shut down and there wasn’t much work at all in 2020. But, for me, it was just good timing for me. So, I’ve been writing, and I’ve got enough for a new album. My focus will be on that for next year; to get in and record somewhere and get the new album out.”

The story of the 48-year-old Victorian’s seven albums follows the former teacher’s eventful life, and her next release is progressing steadily.

“Every album is a diary of where I am, how I’m feeling, and what’s going on in my life,” she says. “For this [upcoming] album, I moved back to the Territory, and we leased a little place out at Adelaide River, about an hour away from Darwin. We had a beautiful little cabin there and I did some songwriting out there. So, there are songs about being back in Darwin and what that brings to me personally. Also, just little stories I’ve heard along the way over the past couple of years. If I hear a story I’ll write it down, and that gives me a number of songs. I can write them, sing them, and record them and then not go back to them for a while. So, what I need to do now is look at what I’ve got and look at what works best as a collective, rather than just having bits and pieces here and there.

Storer does what feels natural to her; following a long line of Australian singer-songwriters telling real-life stories of real-life people and places.

“I grew up on a farm, so I have a bit of a soft spot for our people and our country,” she says. “Country music originated from people writing about people out working on the land and their stories, and I do like writing about our characters in the bush and this great country. As an Australian, I grew up listening to John Williamson and what I love about his work was that he sung about Australia with a lot of pride and used everyday Aussie slang from his world and put it into a song. Aussies can be pretty ‘ocker’ but it still sits beautifully to me, as that’s how we talk, that’s how we greet each other, and that’s our characters. So I like to try to be as descriptive as that in my music, about our beautiful place and, of course, singing with an Aussie accent is important, as it would be pretty silly if I was singing about, say Dubbo for example, in an American accent. Listening back to my earlier stuff, I sound very Australian. I do love the Aussie voice in a song and you have to be authentic; it works well with my songs, themes and subjects and it’s how I’ve always sung.”

Storer will play the upcoming Groundwater Country Music Festival, which runs from 12th to 14th November. The 2019 event saw 73,000 people descend on Broadbeach for the free three-day extravaganza of all things country. This year’s festival features 44 acts, including Adam Brand, Natalie Pearson, Troy Cassar-Daly, Caitlyn Shadbolt and many more.

“I’m so looking forward to it,” Storer says. “I got to play at a big event about a month ago, using a full band. It had been a long time since I’d done that, and I was nervous and excited, but gee, it was good to do that. It was so good to be back on stage with a full band, big, beautiful crowd, and everyone is just there to finally hear some music and do the festival thing again. I can only imagine Groundwater will be bigger and better than ever. I’ve got a really good feeling that it’s going to be a big success. I love music and country music and catching up with friends too.”

For Scenestr

Evangie: Deep and Meaningful

After more than a year since her last release, indie-rock up-and-comer Evangie is back and ready to lay it all on the line.

On new single, ‘Deep Down’, the Brisbane-based singer-songwriter, real name Jodie Sanderson, explores themes of loss and abandonment that come with unreciprocated affection.

“I find it easy to write about things that I’m going through and to write very personal lyrics,” she says. “For me, songwriting is a huge expression of my emotions and a really good way to talk about how I’m feeling. I really love honesty in lyrics; talking about deep topics.”

It’s this honesty and openness that, along with the ability to write a climactic rock anthem, has been the vehicle for Evangie to channel her stresses into something positive.

“I’ve struggled with my mental health during the whole pandemic period, so I kind of naturally took a bit of a break,” she says. “I’m still going through certain struggles, but it’s important for me for people to be aware of it and hopefully it encourages other people to speak out about it, even if they don’t want to specifically talk about what they’re struggling with. I’m very open about [mental health] with friends and family. I’ll always talk about it because I believe it’s important to talk about things I’m going through rather than keeping them inside. With my music, I went a bit MIA and it’s important that people know I’m still trying to work towards things and people’s support is really special to me.”

Like debut single ‘Japan’, released last year, ‘Deep Down’ begins as a driving, crisp pop gem before exploding into life with towering vocals and a hard-rocking, anthemic finish.

“I’m excited for it to be released,” she says. “We’ve had that song for a while so it’ll be good to have it out. I’m most proud of the lyrics; they’re my favourite thing about the single. ‘Deep Down’ is one of my favourite songs, lyrically, that I’ve written. I’m really happy about how the production worked out as well; it really captured the essence of the song. I recorded with Cody McWaters at Hunting Ground Studios. We just spent a few days in the studio recording a couple of songs. We worked together to transform it from just the instruments that we used into something with a lot more effects and sounds to make this huge soundscape. I always ask my band for feedback as well, which is really important to me as I want them all to love the song too. I definitely have ideas of what I want it to sounds like, but I’m so open to collaborating with my producer and band to do what’s best for the song.”

With significant milestones already under her belt, including reaching number one on the Triple J Unearthed indie and rock charts and being awarded ‘Best Overall Performance’ in Brisbane City Council’s Qube Effect, Evangie is looking forward to a bright musical future.

“We’re going to be doing some shows to celebrate the release,” she says. “There’s a show at the Tivoli coming up, which won through Qube Effect, and seeing where things go from there. We’re just going to release the single to see how it goes, and keep on writing and perfecting my sound.”

For Scenestr

The Killer Queen Experience: The Show Must Go On

Source: The Killer Queen Experience Facebook page

Calling all Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boys, Fat Bottomed Girls and Invisible Men of Brisbane: get ready to rock like it’s 1985 when The Killer Queen Experience returns to the Tivoli for one night only on Saturday 13th November.

The Queensland-based band, featuring John Blunt in the role of flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury, has been a mainstay on the Australian and international scenes for two decades, perfecting the knack of celebrating the beloved British band’s legacy in style.

With a wealth of showbusiness experience under his belt, stepping into the yellow jacket came naturally to Blunt.

“I’ve always been a performer,” he says. “I’ve been involved in a lot of cover bands over the years. I worked at Movie World for several years; I performed the role of Roy Orbinson, Freddie Mercury and Elvis. In fact, I was the only male performer there who did three singing roles. From leaving there, I put together a show where myself and my band did a tribute to both Elvis and Queen, calling it ‘The King and Queen Show’. After a few years a lot of people said we did a great Elvis, but everybody does Elvis. So, we dropped Elvis and purely concentrated on doing Queen. We then started a full two-hour show with what we called Killer Queen.”

Getting into the mindset of one of the most admired and missed vocalists of all time has become a process all of its own for Blunt.

“I have a few rituals,” he says. “It’s basically all about getting into the changing room, looking into the mirror, putting on the make-up, realising what a fantastic team of musicians I have around me, and all of us falling into the groove. There’s laughter, there’s guitars. We go through harmonies, go through songs, and before you know it the costumes are on and I’m looking around the room, staring at what looks like Queen circa ’82 to ’85. Then I’m in full character and we’re ready to go on.”

After taking a COVID-related hit to its performing abilities over the past couple of years, the band has enjoyed a run of successful shows recently and is looking forward to rocking audiences all over Australia as soon as possible.

“We’ve been around for almost 20 years now,” Blunt says. “So we’re always getting contacted by promoters, venues and people putting on festivals. We’re always on the radar of people who are trying to put on shows; people who want to keep the industry going, even through the thickest of lockdowns. We’ve always been incredibly grateful for that, and I think that comes from being around for a long time and, without blowing my own trumpet, we definitely deliver the goods.”

The show is full of songs that fans have come to know and love since Queen’s formation in the early seventies, through to the end of the original line-up with Mercury’s death from complications related to AIDS in 1991.

“We used to think we were clever doing songs that were deep cuts,” Blunt says. “But when a paying audience member comes up after the show and says, ‘What was that song about spreading your wings?’ or ‘What was that about too much love will kill you?’, I’d find it interesting that they didn’t know those songs. We’ve now got a motto: stick to the hits. Two hours go by extremely quickly and we add new songs to the show. We don’t announce them on social media; people hear them when they turn up. We like to have little surprises here and there.”

So why see a tribute band playing songs of a group whose original line-up ended 30 years ago? It’s all in the way you approach it, Blunt says.

“These songs are the soundtracks of people’s lives,” Blunt says. “Tribute bands are able to bring back a little bit of that nostalgia. I’ve said this for 20 years: we know we’re not Queen. I don’t call myself Freddie Mercury or anything like that. What I want people to do is to come along and enjoy these wonderful songs that they got married to, celebrated their 21st birthdays to, danced to back in the ‘80s, and watched Queen on film clips and so forth. I want people to walk away thinking that they know that wasn’t Queen, but damn that was close, that was cool, and we enjoyed that. I’m always giving a little wink back to the audience to let them know that we on stage are having just as much fun as you guys are having. There’s only one Freddie Mercury; we’re not trying to replace him, and he doesn’t need our help to let his legacy live on. He’s practically immortal, so we’re just there having some fun with the crowd.”

For Scenestr

Exploring the Attributes That Influence the Purchase of Indigenous Art and Souvenirs

Overview

What attributes influence a consumer’s intention to purchase Indigenous art and souvenirs? Research has suggested ‘perception of authenticity’ motivates some consumers to seek out and purchase such products. However, authenticity may relate to the marker/artist, aesthetics of the design, or material use. These attributes are identified through the extant literature in indigenous art and souvenirs. The purpose of this research project is to determine what influences perceptions of authenticity, leading to purchase intention.

1: Subject area under investigation

In the 2018-19 financial year, travel and tourism directly contributed over AU$2 trillion to the global economy, and over AU$60 billion to the Australian economy, or just over three per cent of the national GDP (Tourism Australia, 2020). “Material things have a particular value in the leisure and tourism markets as they are absolutely necessary for human agency and performativity in them” (Muecke and Wergin, 2014); as evidenced by the fact that shopping is the number one leisure activity performed by tourists (Wang et al. 2018), with 30 per cent to 33 per cent of overall travel expenses going to souvenirs (Swanson & Horridge, 2002).

Indigenous cultural tourism has had an important place in global and domestic tourism product offering and marketing activities for many decades (Ruhanen & Holder, 2019), and while demand for Indigenous souvenir and art products has been decreasing in Australia in the past 20 years (Tourism Australia, 2016), modern holiday travel offers tourists the appealing opportunity for self-definition and enhancement of social prestige through the collection and display of Indigenous souvenirs and art (Kuhn, 2020).

Today’s relative ease of travel, multitude of travel options, efficient production techniques and digital information exchange have brought consumers and the tourism goods and experiences they seek closer than ever before, but the collection of Indigenous souvenirs and cultural objects is not a recent phenomenon in Western culture. Despite Twain (1897) declaring, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”, many industrially- and technologically-advanced, colonialist nations believed that their successes in industry accorded their colonial ambition a natural authority, and it was therefore “their duty to spread their version of civilisation [and] in return, they would capture the wealth of the colonised lands” (Pascoe, 2014).

While global colonial powers were indulging in mass cultural appropriation as they expanded their empires, on the Grand Tours of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, decorative arts were gathered across continental Europe and transformed for commercial purposes far from their founding cultures. In 1874, glass designer Harry Powell sketched glass vessels from Italian, German, Dutch and French Renaissance art to produce copied designs to be sold in England (Franklin, 2018). Eighteenth-century English potter and glass-maker Josiah Wedgewood was similarly inspired by art souvenirs collected by tourists; copying the design of Roman glass cameos to be recreated and sold en masse (Franklin, 2018). Museums in Western cultures also have large collections of Indigenous objects: a Sámi ceremonial drum in the British Museum probably came to the British Isles already in the late 17th or early 18th century. The mere size indicates it might have been made for display and as a souvenir rather than as a sacred ritual artefact (Nordin & Ojala, 2017).

Today, with a greater complexity of consumer options comes a greater complexity of decision-making and evaluation, as goods and services are seen as commodities that offer “potential for conspicuous consumption and a leverage point for self-definition and self-consolidation in the social hierarchy (Boley et al., 2018). It is within this realm that the concept of consumer perceptions of authenticity and purchase intention should be explored.

Authenticity is an important dimension that consumers employ to evaluate goods and experiences. Since MacCannell (1973) first applied the concept of authenticity to tourism, the relationship has been explored to the extent that is now known that even children are aware of authenticity and value originals more than duplicates (Newman, 2019). The search for authenticity drives consumer preferences across a range of areas, including souvenirs, art, clothing, luxury goods, collectables, food, and everyday household items (Newman, 2019).

While it can be argued that authenticity is a social construct, and consumer perceptions of authenticity are shaped by the “social and cultural conditions under which the product was produced” (Littrell et al., 1993), or “projected onto toured objects by tourists or tourism producers in terms of their imagery, expectations, preference, beliefs, powers, etc.” (Newman, 2019), the creation of authenticity is vital to tourism as a device that prompts desire and the production of value.

In its simplest form, the souvenir is a reminder of a tourist’s experience of a place (Wilkins, 2011) or can be part of an authentic experience that also comes through such activities as eating food prepared in traditional ways or experiencing local people’s lifestyles (Yi et al., 2017). However; the intentions behind souvenir purchase can be much more complex and varied. To achieve success in tourism retailing, retailers must understand tourists and meet their needs in terms of the attributes consumers attach to objects to be convinced enough to purchase them as physical reminders of the place or places they have visited. Studies have explored these attached attributes and the way in which items are marketed to meet expectations, finding that the most important attributes of souvenirs are often appealing colours and design, workmanship or techniques of high quality, being able to display the item in the home, cost, making a good gift, the inclusion of a name, design, or representation of the place visited (Amaro et al, 2020), workmanship, sensuous appreciation, cultural linkage and ease of handling (Plant et al, 2019, Hu and Hong, 2007).

Why all of this matters is that the outcomes of these motivations, behaviours and choices – good or bad, intentional or unintentional – have wide-reaching and long-lasting consequences for entire cultures and peoples. Despite the fact that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples declares that Indigenous peoples have the “right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage”, “to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage”; and the “right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures”; to further advance their economic and social conditions including employment (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2012), consumers’ search for perceived authenticity in the tourism souvenir and art markets has meant that many Indigenous cultures have been exploited and undermined, with negative outcomes for Indigenous peoples in Australia and worldwide. In some cases, legal action has had to be taken to address this exploitation, although it has similarly been the case that cultural and ethical issues or concerns around the production and marketing of Indigenous objects have been overlooked compared to factors related to legislative compliance (Plant et al, 2019).

A recent Federal Government Inquiry ended up with legal proceedings being brought against a well-known souvenir distributor who was found to have been mislabelling products to deceive consumers attempting to make ethical purchases (Plant et al, 2019). The products at the centre of the case were represented to be ‘associated with Australian Aboriginal Art’ and using words in the labels including ‘Aboriginal Art, ‘genuine’, and ‘Australia’ (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, 2018) . Several products were featured in the case including loose boomerangs, boxed boomerangs, bull-roarers, didgeridoos and message stones.

Choices made at the individual consumer level have macro-level ramifications.

2: What do we currently know. What is the latest research from leading academic journals telling us about this area?

Indigenous souvenirs and art are emotional and affective objects that often embody knowledge, meanings, skills and identity (Kuhn, 2020). In Australia and many other places, Indigenous art is centred on storytelling; Australian Aboriginal people use art to chronicle and convey knowledge of their land, events and beliefs, and to pass on information to preserve their culture (Williams & Biggemann, 2020). Indigenous souvenirs and artworks are items which can symbolise and materialise the consumer’s experience; they have “the ability to ‘absorb’ tourists’ narratives and express individual travel experience to social others [and] induce conversations about travel experience in a social setting” (Kuhn, 2020).

Historically, the collection of Indigenous materials has been a mechanism of colonial power; with objectives ranging from posthumous retribution for the purported wrongs of a person or group to the collection of souvenirs, curios and trophies (Prictor et al, 2020). This collection of knowledge about cultures and environments regarded as “other” (Whittle, 2016) – knowledge which Said (1978) described as being “reinforced by colonial encounter as well as by the widespread interest in the alien and unusual” – is a legacy presenting many complex challenges today. Many Indigenous peoples’ cultures, stories and traditions have become “spaces of competing values, requiring stakeholders to engage in a complex weighing up of priorities” (Prictor et al., 2020).

In today’s consumer markets, questions of authenticity, identity and Indigenous heritage weave through everything that we know about this subject, as consumers’ desire to see, experience, know and own Indigenous souvenirs and art can be driven by the need for perceived ‘authentic’ interactions with places and cultures (Franklin, 2018).

The most important product attributes for consumers of Indigenous souvenirs and art are authenticity and a tie between product and the local areas (Trivedi et al., 2020). Various definitions of authenticity linked to this subject matter include terms like uniqueness, genuineness, cultural and history integrity, artistry, as well as aesthetics and use of souvenir. Authentic souvenirs should have a distinct characteristic difficult to find in tourists’ everyday lives (Trivedi et al., 2020).

Authenticity can be “projected onto toured objects by tourists or tourism producers in terms of their imagery, expectations, preference, beliefs, powers, etc.” (Newman, 2019) in three main ways: historical authenticity, categorical authenticity and values authenticity (Newman, 2019. Historical authenticity relates to the perception of the object embodying the physical essence of some valued source, categorical authenticity relates to whether the object or experience conforms to the required qualities of a particular category or type, and values authenticity relates to whether the object or experience reflects a deep, essential value.

At the micro level, such objects, as self-representative symbols, “must be noticed by others, they must characteristically evoke certain specifiable reactions from others, and they must be in control of the individual in order to be effective vehicles for self-expression” (Kuhn, 2020), as “souvenirs and commodified arts or handicrafts are directly and indirectly tied to notions of ethnicity, gender, authenticity, and cultural heritage” (King, 2016).

While it is perhaps the multifaceted capabilities that consumers associate with Indigenous objects that enable them to animate them with “affects and emotions, feelings of remembrance, affection, appreciation and loss” (Haldrup, 2017), it can also be argued that, for an individual consumer, the acquisition of Indigenous souvenirs or art has become a simplified affair. Consumers’ perception of an Indigenous object is specifically grounded in the visuality of it with less concern associated with authenticity in design. Many consumers perceive “contemporary design combined with Indigenous markers to be more authentic than traditional design” (Xie et al., 2012) as the “apparent traditionalism of Aboriginal souvenirs does not determine the degree of authenticity” (Xie et al., 2012). While an anthropologist will tend to explore what an Indigenous object, for example, a totem pole, means, to most tourists totem poles are “usually perceived as exotic undifferentiated structures; they serve to mark out spaces to which tourists are guided in order to spend money” (King, 2016), as well as providing something to photograph, as a record of their engagement with ‘otherness’ (King, 2016).

Similarly, it has been found that a consumer’s nationality and level of familiarity with the culture from which they are purchasing a souvenir or art piece can heavily affect perceptions of authenticity based on simply on an object’s appearance (Elomba & Yun, 2017). Using pictorial analysis, a study applied six attributes of souvenir authenticity: material, presentation, features, image, feelings, and spirit or interpretation to tourists in South Korea, finding that the most effective marketing methods should involve souvenir suppliers focussing on “the overall appearance and image of souvenirs … considering these six characteristics of souvenirs’ authenticity” (Elomba & Yun, 2017).

The subcategory of existential authenticity, focussing on individuals’ emotions actions, has been explored, with a heavy focus on hosts’ and guests’ interpretations of place and space (Yi et al., 2016). Wang (1999) argued that existential authenticity is a state of mind that enables an individual to feel free, within certain environments, to engage in activities they would normally avoid because of their social roles. Some tourists may encounter local artisans or craftspeople and local craftwork and folk art, and become consumers of these experiences, objects or activities, which are not experienced by tourists in their daily lives but are associated with tourist excursions. Experiencing these things away from their natural environment and social rules allows them to be “true to themselves and not to be rigidly constrained by their social roles” (Yi et al. 2017)

Consumers’ perceptions of authenticity have a major role to play in how Indigenous souvenirs and art produced for, and interact with, the demands of the tourism industry and the compulsion to transform them into local, national and international commodities. The consumption of Indigenous souvenirs and art should be explored from two perspectives: the tourist’s or consumer’s perspective, which is that souvenirs are “tangible objects or intangible experiences that are symbolic reminders of an event or experience” (Sthapit, 2018) and the supplier’s perspective, which is that souvenirs are “tourism commodities that can be found in souvenir shops and handicraft markets” (Sthapit, 2018). Retailers can “establish product authenticity by simply making tourists recognize that a souvenir is hand-made locally which has an impact on souvenir buying intentions and sales representatives should not pressure tourists to buy, but spend time explaining the item’s history and truthfully describe the item’s value” (Trivedi et al., 2020).

It is “apparent that such items provide evidence of the conspicuous side of tourism consumption” (Kuhn, 2020) as attitudes toward and willingness to sell mass-produced souvenirs are more typical of souvenir vendors because of limited business resources (Soukhathammavong & Park, 2018). Challenges exist, in particular, due to a fierce competition between local souvenir producers and international traders in many local markets (King, 2016), bringing about the potential of unethical practices in souvenir and art production, as well as consumption. Consumers can consciously indulge in ethical and unethical purchasing behaviour, and that they “often compensate for unethical choices by making ethical choices later on (and vice versa)” (Gregory-Smith, 2013). Indeed, there is a bulk of evidence that sustainable travelling is not an “all or nothing” matter (Passafaro, 2019), but some consumers can display a greater or lesser commitment to the green cause. The definition of customer-perceived value describes as “an exchange between total perceived benefits the consumer receives and sacrifices in quality and the price the customer makes to obtain a good or service” (Wang et al., 2018).

This “deception and decoupling from social sustainability relating to human rights and the cultural paradigm from a production perspective” (Plant et. al, 2019) and unethical choices made by individual consumers can have many negative outcomes for Indigenous businesses and individuals seeking to enter the souvenir or art industry as a means of economic inclusion (Plant et al., 2019). The development of nomenclature for deception relating to ethical production and consumption within supply chain literature “demonstrates its prevalence in contemporary business” (Dadush, 2018). Green-washing and blue-washing (Dadush, 2018) describes “the practice of misleading consumers by misrepresenting the degree to which a product or service is environmentally (green) or socially (blue) sustainable” (Dadush, 2018).

Tourists’ behaviour depends on the intensity of the experiences sought or gained Yankholmes and McKercher (2015) and there is a distinct relationship between souvenir shopping and travel experience (Kong & Chang, 2016). Consumer perception and knowledge of the authenticity of Indigenous objects tends to correlate with figures showing numbers of tourists who wished to experience an Indigenous tourism experience (Pabel et al., 2017). A study showed that “a majority (77.5%) of Indigenous artefacts were purchased by visitors who did not participate in an Indigenous tourism activity” (Pabel et al., 2017). These findings have important and potentially wide-reaching implications for the development of future Indigenous tourism and shopping experiences as the context in which a product was purchased increases its perceived value (Weaver, 2013).

3: What don’t we know (gaps). At the end of such journals, academics will speak of current limitations or future research direction. What are these?

While research into the meanings and values behind souvenirs and consumer purchase intention has increased in recent years, the specifics of self-expression through souvenirs have not been extensively investigated (Kuhn, 2020). The research findings of “touristic self-presentation through souvenirs in this study is limited to interpretations of young, Western students and cannot be unequivocally applied to the larger population of tourists” (Kuhn, 2020). The reflective process or the “active construction of self-messages by the tourist” have not been analysed in great detail (Kuhn, 2020).

Many studies focus on tourists’ personal reflections on what their purchases tell other people about themselves, but only involving souvenirs or artwork willing to be displayed in the home or in another place where it is visually noticed. It is important that all souvenir purchase is actively reflected upon, not just the objects that reflect how a consumer’s behaviour is “noticed and valuated by social others” (Kuhn, 2020).

Tourism literature, in exploring the individual marketing aspects that affect consumer buying intention, including product attributes, store attributes and souvenir attributes, have done little to investigate the impact of how the relationships between multiple attributes at once affect consumer perceptions (Wang et al., 2018). Passafaro (2019) points out that there is no universally accepted method of conceptualizing and investigating attitudes, noting that social psychologists “have been working hard to disentangle the many possible determinants of individual and group behaviour … [including] … values, world views, norms, identity, traits and others, all of which researchers should learn to distinguish”. One of the most challenging issues in attitude research is the controversial relationship with behaviour (Passafaro, 2019).

A majority of domestic and international tourists want relatively inexpensive, urban activities; this particularly applies to mainstream, tour group-operated package holidays and similar types of travel. Other types of tourism, such as adventure, art, cultural and environmental tourism “attract far smaller numbers of visitors; but these are the types of tourist attractions run by Indigenous operators” (Langton, 2018). There is a need to better understand the factors preventing greater numbers of people participating in Indigenous tourism activities. As the “majority (77.5%) of Indigenous artefacts [are] purchased by visitors who did not participate in an Indigenous tourism activity” (Pabel et al., 2017), and thus driving the “deception and decoupling from social sustainability relating to human rights and the cultural paradigm from a production perspective” (Plant et. al, 2019), we need to better understand just what is preventing them from participating in Indigenous tourism. It would not be surprising if “embodied cognition” proved a fruitful line of investigation for understanding the attitude–behaviour gap in ethical tourism as well (Oleksy & Wnuk 2016, Passafaro, 2019).

Existing studies “have yet to fully uncover the reasons for the low market appeal of Indigenous tourism” (Ruhanen & Holder, 2019). In recent years, criticism has been levelled at government agencies from a range of sources for “over-promising” (Ruhanen et al., 2015) in terms of the benefits of tourism and creating expectations which have not lived up to consumer demand. The results of this has damaged Indigenous peoples’ abilities to develop and maintain tourism businesses (Ruhanen et al., 2015). At the same time, a study found that between 60% and 80% of international visitors “who were either interested in experiencing or had experienced an Indigenous tourism product believed they had been exposed to very little advertising” (Ruhanen et al., 2015). Understanding non-visitors image and perceptions of Indigenous people and Indigenous tourism is an important first step and data collection methods such as psycho-physiological techniques may be the best way to move forward in this space (Ruhanen & Holder, 2019). There may be a case for “focusing on image recovery and reputation management of Indigenous tourism” (Ruhanen & Holder, 2019).

A way of looking at how cultural stories are represented in marketing realms could be through the lens of story marketing. Story marketing is an area that has not been widely explored in relation to this area and may contribute to attitude–behaviour incongruence caused by conflict among the various attitude components (cognitive, affective, and behavioural) (Passafaro, 2019). Story marketing is a marketing strategy that requires the creation of a brand experience through a variety of methods, including audio, visual and immersive storytelling “whereby the customer becomes the centre of the story to drive profitable engagement” (The Business of Story, 2020). Aspects of story marketing, including informativeness, credibility and entertainment positively influence the perception of authenticity of the place of origin of a souvenir or artwork, and thus the marketability of a product (Trivedi et al., 2020). Story marketing positively influences the purchase intentions of products such as wine, however; as an independent variable, it has not been examined in the context of buying cultural products (Trivedi et al., 2020). Hence, if a marketer wishes to create a positioning strategy for cultural products, they should frame it by using the medium of story marketing (Trivedi et al, 2020). This is an avenue for further research that could be useful. There is a need to “develop the scale of story marketing since the existing scale of story marketing is very ambiguous in nature” (Li, 2014).

As with many decisions made for and about Indigenous peoples, stories and cultures, in Australia in particular, conclusions are often drawn without the involvement, input and expertise of Indigenous peoples. This needs to change. Many studies in this subject area have been quite severely limited due to the nature of their research design and data collection (Wang et al., 2018, Amaro et al., 2020, Deng et al., 2020), with the lack of cross-validation of structural relationships in other cultures and other settings. Convenience sampling is often undertaken, with respondents being a “young and homogeneous group”, and therefore with opinions not necessarily representative of the overall population (Wang et al., 2018), or conclusions drawn from samples that are geographically limited to one location (Amaro et al., 2020).

Similarly, the role played by Indigenous peoples in the development of culturally appropriate manufacturing, marketing and sustainability practices is generally minor. Plant et al. (2019) explored this to a certain extent, highlighting “where Indigenous people should be involved in the development chain for other non-Indigenous firms selling like-for-like products so as to avoid infringing on human rights as it relates to commodification of culture”, but knowledge of this area could benefit from more research and exploration. A good example is the case of the inuksuk; an Inuit stone cairn “appropriated as a signifier of ‘Canadianness’ for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and repeatedly commodified for souvenirs and tourism campaigns, which features in the ‘An Amazing Gift’ commercial, along with the ecstatic, smiling face of an Inuit woman, as a kind of Indigenous ‘stamp of approval’” (Dean & Failler, 2019). The advert would suggest that Indigenous people appreciate token gestures of inclusion within the colonial nation, despite historic and ongoing dispossession and social degradation they have faced. Is this true or a total façade?

4: How will the research fill these gaps?

The protection of Indigenous people’s heritages and cultures is a human right and the realm of the protection and strengthening of Indigenous cultural rights is an area “still ripe for meaningful exploration and achievement” (Roy, 2015). Therefore, this work will be focussed on this idea, covering three main areas of exploration:

(a) To explore consumers’ perceptions of the authenticity of Indigenous objects as a reflection or projection of self and the categorisation or grouping of consumers by retailers and manufacturers as a result

Buying souvenirs is important to tourists as tangible evidence of their travel experience (Cho & Lee, 2012), with global sales annually in the billions of dollars. Purchasing behaviour differs depending on whether consumers buy an item for themselves or for another person (Kim & Littrell, 2001) and tourists’ personal characteristics are significant factors in their intentions to buy souvenirs.

There is a growing literature in psychology which suggests that consumers are highly attuned to whether their choices and behaviours are aligned to their true self (Newman, 2019, Wood et al., 2008). The relationship between perceptions of authenticity, purchase intention and self-perception has not been studied in any detail; the suggestion exists that “a person seeking self-authenticity may be less concerned about the historical accuracy of an object or experience and may instead attend to the way in which the object or experience makes them feel” (Newman, 2019). This study will explore this, as a more detailed consideration of the cultural background of respondents in data collection techniques is required (Cho & Lee, 2012).

Cultural identities are “created from, and shaped by, values that are defined by a sense of self” (Prictor et al., 2020), and it is important to explore whether decisions being made about the purchase of Indigenous souvenirs and art reflect sincere choices true to one’s self, or are they simply socially-scripted responses influenced by a number of values rooted in a person’s cultural identity, background or social norms (Newman, 2019). Indeed, the “characteristics of individuals who are prototypical of a social group or category is of crucial relevance for understanding other people’s willingness to act like them” (Passafaro, 2019). How these characteristics could be related to self-expression and their relevance to consumption of Indigenous objects is worthy of examination.

To build on previous studies in this area and add to the knowledge, data needs to be collected and analysed from several international sources, providing a wide-reaching dataset to avoid the implications that come with convenience sampling and conclusions being drawn based on sampling from homogeneous group[s] (Wang et al., 2018) or samples that are geographically limited (Amaro et al., 2020). This study will address this issue using contemporary communication and data collection techniques covering a number of territories, and, to explore the way Indigenous objects are marketed and retailed based on perceived audience characteristics, the “six characteristics of souvenirs’ authenticity”, as described by Elomba & Yun (2017).

(b) To explore the barriers that prevent tourists within and to Australia from undertaking an Indigenous experience, including how, and the extent to which, Indigenous tourism experiences are marketed to audiences domestically and abroad and the effect(s), and how these barriers affect consumer perceptions of authenticity

Australia is home to world-class Indigenous tourism experiences and has the unique ability for visitors to experience Indigenous culture and authentic products made by Indigenous communities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism is an important and iconic part of the Australian tourism offering. It is essential to attracting new and return visitors to Queensland and ensuring participation of Indigenous Australians in the tourism industry (Department of Innovation and Tourism Development, 2020).

Indigenous people involved in tourism and related markets generally have a positive view of the industry and confidence in their products to exceed consumer expectations (Ruhanen et al., 2015), but there have been conflicting reports regarding this (Buultjens & Gale, 2013, Ruhanen et al., 2015). Reported demand has not translated into visitor and income flows for Indigenous people involved in these markets, so where is the money going? For Indigenous people operating tourism businesses around Australia, or aspiring to, there is a clear need for a better understanding of visitor perceptions (Ruhanen & Holder, 2019).

Academic studies have shown that, for the awareness of Indigenous experiences, there is “little difference between international and domestic respondents: domestic respondents had slightly higher awareness levels (21%), citing Indigenous tourism as an experience option available in Australia only marginally more often than international visitors (18%)” (Ruhanen et al., 2015), but not a great deal has been researched at government level. A lack of focused research has resulted in public sector strategies that have been “developed for growing Indigenous tourism in Australia, are not underpinned and developed with explicit empirical evidence but rather with assumptions” (Yugambeh Museum, 2003).

Tourists have a desire for authentic experiences and tourism “has the potential to foster existential authenticity and that existential authenticity is experience-oriented” (Newman, 2019), and those who seek authentic experiences in authentic settings and meaningful interactions with residents are encouraged – when these desires are fulfilled – “to travel more, stay longer in the places they visit, and take part in more activities compared to other tourists” (Tussyadiah & Pesonen, 2015).

The year of Indigenous Tourism – now extended to 2021 because of the COVID pandemic – is part of the Department of Innovation and Tourism Development’s “commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to take charge of their economic futures” (Department of Innovation and Tourism Development, 2020). Despite this, there exists an urgent requirement to further investigate whether “low levels of awareness and demand for Indigenous tourism in Australia is a result of general indifference to the product or if they are a result of inadequate and/ or ineffective marketing and promotion strategies” (Ruhanen et al., 2015). This research will fill that gap and explore how barriers to participation affect consumer perceptions of authenticity in Indigenous objects as a result.

(c) To explore the extent to which Indigenous peoples are involved in decision-making roles in the Australian souvenir and art markets, and the likely effects on increased Indigenous representation on consumers’ perceptions of authenticity

“Opportunities abound to make a difference, but they may need to evolve from changes in generational attitudes and approaches” (Roy, 2015). The correct approach to research of this kind would involve “seeking information from primary sources by Indigenous peoples first, followed by reviewing both primary and secondary sources by non-Indigenous peoples” (Roy, 2015, Martin, 2003). This would ensure that it recognizes Indigenous people’s world views, honours their social values, emphasizes the contexts in which they live, and privileges the Indigenous voice and experience (Roy, 2015).

Professor Marcia Langton (2018) writes that the benefits of tourism to Indigenous people are many, especially in rural and remote areas of Australia where there are fewer economic opportunities. Tourism businesses are a “pathway for local families to enjoy the benefits of their unparalleled ancestral heritage” (Langton, 2018); thus Indigenous people have “established cultural and natural tourism businesses and opened up their country for tourists with a great energy, determination and a love of sharing the beauty of their culture” (Langton, 2018). Local tourism projects offer Indigenous people opportunities to work on their own country with their own family, while education their young family members about their country, stories and traditions; ensuring their cultures are sustained into the future.

However, existing studies “have yet to fully uncover the reasons for the low market appeal of Indigenous tourism” (Ruhanen & Holder, 2019). Ruhanen and Holder (2019) call for “an alternative lens and approach [that] could shed better insights into the issues of low market appeal for Indigenous tourism in Australia” and including Indigenous viewpoints from primary sources can be a rarity in academic studies.

With this in mind, it is important to explore how and where Indigenous people should be involved in the development chain to avoid infringing on human and cultural rights as it relates to commodification of culture and the potential effects this will have on consumers’ perceptions of authenticity. This work will seek and analyse data from primary sources as First Nations voices must be heard and included in this study if it is to be considered a useful contribution to public knowledge.

5: What is the research question/s under investigation?

There will be three research questions:

1: To what extent do consumers’ reflections or perceptions of self affect their perceptions of authenticity of Indigenous souvenirs and art, and how does this affect the categorisation or grouping of consumers by suppliers and retailers as a result?

2: What are the barriers preventing consumers from undertaking authentic Indigenous tourism and cultural experiences, and to what extent do they have an effect on perceptions of authenticity of Indigenous souvenirs and art?

3: To what extent would a greater level of Indigenous decision-making in the Australian souvenir and art markets affect consumer perceptions of authenticity and purchase intention?

6: What are the managerial problems?

The managerial problems include working out how to persuade consumers to seek a more authentic Indigenous souvenir or art purchase, how do we ensure a greater percentage of consumers are exposed to the possibilities of experiencing Indigenous tourism, and how can we involve a greater number of Indigenous people in decision-making in the mainstream Indigenous souvenir and art industries.

Previous studies have proved adept at predicting and explaining human behaviour (Ma et al., 2018, Giampetri et al., 2018), but others show that purchase intention has no effect whatsoever on consumer behaviour (Deng, 2015, Meitiana et al., 2019). There is no universally accepted “standard way of conceptualizing and investigating attitudes” (Passafaro, 2019), and attitudes alone cannot explain all human behaviour, nor individual or partial behaviour in all circumstances. Behaviour and attitudes can be influenced by a combination of values, world views, social norms, identity, personal traits and others: all of which researchers need to learn to distinguish (Passafaro, 2019). Future studies of this kind require a “more detailed consideration of the cultural background of respondents” (Cho & Lee, 2012), with more attention paid to the cultural background of consumers, especially in global markets.

Other problems can affect data collection, including the lack of control of researchers in respondents’ entering data into a questionnaire or similar device can cause misinterpretation or a lack of understanding, resulting in data validity problems and a weakening of the data. We do not reflect upon how we present ourselves in each and every moment of our lives (Kuhn, 2020) and often are not comfortable in doing so as a result. Researchers must work closely with respondents to surveys, questionnaires and other forms of data collection so that attitudes and behaviour can be measured accurately (Meitiana et al., 2019).

Studies have also described (Sthapit, 2017, Ruhanen & Holder, 2020) that the collection of data in the post-holiday stage, relying on consumers’ memories many weeks or months after their interaction with the Indigenous souvenir and art markets, results in “a complex process in which correlated information from what consumers knew before an actual experience and what they learned afterwards becomes integrated to create an alternate memory of product experience” (Bartlett, 1932, Sthapit, 2017). Data must be collected much closer to the point of interaction, if not at the point of interaction.

Similarly – and this issue could apply to several areas of this research – Ruhanen & Holder (2020) found that respondents to questionnaires “may have been hesitant to articulate broader barriers pertaining to otherwise culturally sensitivity issues relating to Indigenous peoples and/or communities.” Respondents may have felt compelled to appear to be more ‘politically correct’ and therefore not entirely honest about their true feelings or perceptions of Indigenous peoples, cultures and objects, and this can skew the results in this area. Offering the option of anonymity when supplying data could help counteract this potential problem. Additionally, many current studies have used data from small, homogeneous group of young tourists (Kuhn, 2020), and further research into other cohorts could expose additional data useful to this research.

Self-expression through souvenirs is “deeply entangled with subjective meanings and values attached to the travel experience” (Kuhn, 2020). In tourism, people “interact routinely with a wide range of objects and material environments; they bring their gendered, racialized and aged bodies into play when performing leisure and tourism” (Haldrup & Larsen, 2006). People actively represent what is of personal value to them and, if a trip is not considered special or noteworthy, souvenirs are rarely displayed or discussed (Kuhn, 2020). Research should go beyond current studies by investigating consumers’ perception of their social environment and to what extent self-messages reach their intended audiences. This would be a good starting point for the examination of prestige effects of tourist experiences and how they affect the Indigenous souvenir and art markets.

A surface-level investigation on the categorisation or grouping of consumers by suppliers and retailers shows that “souvenir stores offer a unique and large assortment of souvenirs to visitors” (Sthapit, 2017) to cover all potential markets and maximise profit. While one of the preferred attributes when choosing Indigenous souvenirs or artwork is uniqueness, it is likely that more choice is “always good” (Sthapit, 2017) and the idea that a greater amount choice can be harmful is incorrect. Industry managers should focus on distribution channels and accessibility to meet the needs of mass consumers, while also offering souvenirs that are “authentic to represent the local heritage and unique culture of the community” (Wang et. al, 2018). This area is open to further investigation.

Research in social sciences has been conventionally defined as discovering a generalisable truth based on systematic data interpretation (Snow et al., 2016, Smith, 2012) and many existing studies aim for the replication of results via experimentation and often undervalue participant contributions to studies. Indigenous research should reflect a “value-based convergence of researcher, participant, socio-political, and environmental values on research process and outcome” (Kovach, 2009). It should thus be a process of coming together to “contribute to the welfare of a community, a moral and political activity” (Snow et al., 2016). Many Indigenous communities develop shared ways of knowing guided by how they view the world, themselves, and the connection between the two (Snow et al., 2016), and, in acknowledging the limits of existing literature in reflecting Indigenous culture and of the presence of libraries and similar institutions as colonising structures (Roy, 2015), it will be important to conduct primary research by collecting data directly from Indigenous sources. There is an important requirement to “prioritise First Peoples’ governance and decision making, while recognizing that systemic and institutional bias still exists to limit First Peoples’ ability to exercise these rights” (Prictor et al., 2020).

7: What theory/theories do you plan to use to guide your study and explain such behaviours? There are plenty of cross overs between psych theory and consumer behaviour.

A large amount of research has been conducted on souvenir and art types purchased, but much more is needed in the area of purchasing Indigenous souvenirs and art in the tourism realm (Meitiana et al., 2019). The Theory of Planned Behaviour has shaped psychological theorising and can be applied in relation to predicting an individual’s intention to engage in a particular behaviour at a specific time and place. It proposes that “volitional human behaviour is a function of the intention to perform the behaviour and perceived behavioural control” (Sniehotta et al., 2014). Intention is proposed to be a function of attitudes towards the behaviour, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control. The key component to this model is behavioural intent; “behavioural intentions are influenced by the attitude about the likelihood that the behaviour will have the expected outcome and the subjective evaluation of the risks and benefits of that outcome” (Boston University, online).

Consumers decide whether they intend to continue with a purchase based on information available to them (Pappas, 2016). Positive consumer activities in tourism markets are influenced by the attitudes of consumers about the authenticity of souvenir and art products (Yu & Littrell, 2003), and attitudes towards authenticity have a notable effect on purchase intention (Cho & Lee, 2013). Recent research has found that the attitude toward authenticity and attitude toward aesthetics “had a significant effect on the purchasing intention which then will be realized in a real buying behaviour” (Meitiana et al., 2019). Indeed, attitudes to entire cultures can help to predict purchase intention.

The Fogg Behaviour Model asserts that for a person to perform a behaviour, they must be “sufficiently motivated, have the ability to perform the behaviour, and be triggered to perform the behaviour” (Fogg, 2009). The model states that the consumer only takes action when particular criteria are met, suggesting that consumers are motivated by behaviours that may increase or sustain their social acceptance among peers, among other factors. This aligns with the idea that objects such as Indigenous souvenirs and art “must be noticed by others; they must characteristically evoke certain specifiable reactions from others, and they must be in control of the individual in order to be effective vehicles for self-expression” (Kuhn, 2020),

It may be necessary to use several other theories to guide the research, including Self-Perception Theory, Action Identification Theory and Reasoned Action Theory. Self-Perception Theory suggests that individuals “come to know their own attitudes, emotions, and other internal states partially by inferring them from observations of their own overt behaviour and/or the circumstances in which this behaviour occurs” (Bem, 1972). Action Identification Theory is a “system of principles explaining how people’s thoughts of what they are doing relate to what they do” (Vallacher & Wegner, 2011) and Reasoned Action Theory a model for behaviour prediction stating that the best predictor of people’s behaviour in any situation is behaviour intention (Hennessy et al., 2012). These theories could be used, when individuals have no previously established attitudes to Indigenous souvenirs and art, to guide conclusions related to what cause current attitudes or perceptions to come about.

8: What do you see as the theoretical and managerial contributions?

The reflective process or the “active construction of self-messages by the tourist” have not been analysed in great detail (Kuhn, 2020) and a “more detailed consideration of the cultural background of respondents” (Cho & Lee, 2012) is required in future research relating to this subject matter, which this study will include, while building on knowledge of how the relationships between multiple attributes at once affect consumer perceptions (Wang et al., 2018) of Indigenous souvenirs and art.

Existing studies “have yet to fully uncover the reasons for the low market appeal of Indigenous tourism” (Ruhanen & Holder, 2019) and there is a need to better understand the factors preventing greater numbers of people participating in Indigenous tourism activities and the effects participation or lack thereof has on perceptions of authenticity of Indigenous souvenirs and art. This study will add to this knowledge, while fulfilling the need to “develop the scale of story marketing since the existing scale of story marketing is very ambiguous in nature” (Li, 2014).

As an extension to this, the research will examine the relatively minor role played by Indigenous peoples in culturally appropriate manufacturing, marketing and sustainability practices in the Indigenous souvenir and art industries and the resulting impacts on perceptions of authenticity and consumer purchase intention – most especially in Australia. Plant et al. (2019) have explored this to a certain extent, highlighting “where Indigenous people should be involved in the development chain for other non-Indigenous firms selling like-for-like products so as to avoid infringing on human rights as it relates to commodification of culture” (Plant et al, 2019). There is an important requirement to “prioritise First Peoples’ governance and decision making, while recognizing that systemic and institutional bias still exists to limit First Peoples’ ability to exercise these rights” (Prictor et al., 2020); and the role played by Indigenous peoples in the development of culturally appropriate souvenirs and art, and the likely effects on consumer perceptions of authenticity as a result, could benefit from further research and exploration.

There are several limitations of the Theory of Planned Behaviour, including assumptions that the person has the opportunities to perform the desired behaviour and that behaviours will not change over time (Meitiana et al., 2019). It does not account for other influencing factors including fear, mood or past experience, nor does take into account environmental or economic factors (Meitiana et al., 2019). The timeframe between intent and action is also not addressed. This research will address each of these limitations with a wide-reaching, exhaustive data set and analysis.

9: How many studies are you planning? For PhD, generally two or three.

Three studies will be undertaken, with one study aligned to each of the three research questions under investigation.

The first will take a primary, quantitative research approach to explore the extent that consumers’ reflections or perceptions of self affect their perceptions of authenticity of Indigenous souvenirs and art, and how this may affect the categorisation or grouping of consumers by suppliers and retailers as a result.

For the second study, relating to the second research question, a combination of primary, quantitative research and user-generated content analysis will be undertaken to explore the relationship between consumption of Indigenous souvenirs and art and willingness to partake in an Indigenous tourism experience. As a research tool, UGC has been found to be a “highly suitable data source for tourism studies with academic, industry and market researchers increasingly adopting the approach to study travel-related decision-making purchases (Ruhanen & Holder, 2019). A distinction will be made between tourists who took part in an Indigenous tourism experience and those who did not.

A similar combined-method approach will be taken to the third study, relating to the third research question, in order to examine to what extent a greater level of Indigenous decision-making in the Australian souvenir and art markets could affect consumer perceptions of authenticity and purchase intention. Data collection will involve working with Indigenous people in Australia, through focus groups, discussions and interviews, using a proven community research and user-testing methodology. All interviews and discussions will be informal and semi-structured, allowing participants to generate ideas, concepts and feedback, as well as expressing opinions openly and freely. It is important that participants are able to pursue their own priorities in their terms and using their words (Kitzinger & Barbour, 1999). By allowing these interactions to be flexible and fluid in nature, participants are encouraged to express a wide range of attitudes (Waterton & Wynne, 1999).

10: What methodology do you propose? Experimental, qualitative, quantitative, etc.

The research methods will include quantitative methods, user-generated content analysis, and small focus groups, discussions and interviews, as described above; all designed to maximise data collection.

The first and second studies will include questionnaires designed to measure all relevant variables using a Likert scale and allow for a wide range of input from the sample audience, whose personal characteristics will also be recorded, including sex, age, nationality, geographical location, education level, income level, and others. The relationship or relationships between the variables proposed will be measured and tested using Partial Least Square (PLS) (Meitiana et al., 2019), with data drawn from consumers of Indigenous souvenirs and art who have purchased an object or objects in the three months prior to data collection occurring. A sample size of 100 people in PLS is considered appropriate (Hair et al., 2014), but this study will seek to double this figure.

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Tex Perkins: Up Late for Rock ‘n’ Roll

tex perkins scenestr paul mcbride live music brisbane australia GOMA

Tex Perkins is arguably one of the hardest working people in Australian music, and a true survivor at that.

As a member of Beasts of Bourbon, The Cruel Sea, Tex, Don and Charlie, The Fat Rubber Band and others, as well as a finger in the pies of the acting, writing and presenting worlds, Perkins has been working practically non-stop since the early-’80s. Having had many guises over the years; from hard-drinking rocker, Johnny Cash in his ‘The Man in Black’ show, or member of a bonafide Australian super group, as well as simultaneously juggling family life and personal relationships, Perkins isn’t going to be held back by the roadblocks of recent months.

The enigmatic singer-songwriter will be continuing his decades-long relationship with Australian music-lovers when he appears at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art’s ‘Up Late’ series on 20th March as Tex Perkins & Friends; an ensemble including Jez Mead, Lucie Thorne and Christian Pyle.

The latest edition of the popular series is part of GOMA’s ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ exhibition, which examines the ground-breaking designs that shaped one of the most iconic vehicles and features 100 of the greatest motorcycles ever assembled. Included in the outdoor celebration, which runs for two nights at the Maiwar Green at South Bank, are Indigenous rapper and musician JK-47, Brisbane punk/grunge outfit VOIID, and DJs Eamon Sandwith, Paolo and Patience Hodgson. Throw in GOMA’s top-notch bars and food service and you’ve got a veritable smorgasbord of delights.

Added to this, Perkins’ year is looking as busy as ever, with appearances pencilled in at Byron Bay Bluesfest in early April and the Gympie Music Muster in late August, and a string of club shows lined up, among others.

But being a rock ‘n’ roll survivor inevitably takes its toll and doesn’t come without its scars. The past couple of years have seen the loss of some of Perkins’ closest friends in the music world, including the Beasts of Bourbon’s bassists Brian Henry Cooper and guitarist Spencer P. Jones, who both passed away from cancer at the ages of just 55 and 61, respectively, and put an end to the much-loved band forever.

Then came COVID, but, not one to stand still or take time out, Perkins put together ‘The Show’; an online concert series recorded and staged not in the pubs and hotels of urban and rural Australia, but in a shed on his country New South Wales property. With the help of family and friends offering expertise in equipment use and setup, recording and editing, the series kept the ever-busy Perkins from getting restless before the re-introduction of the live music show towards the end of 2020.

Now, fresh from lockdown and with a number of shows with Matt Walker under his belt, including a recent show at Kings Beach Tavern on the Sunshine Coast which a Scenestr reviewer described as “ultra-solid”, Perkins is back in the game. It’s a timely return to a natural habitat for the Fender-toting guitar-slinger.

If quality rock and roll performed by one of Australia’s most experienced and respected industry veterans in a moon-lit urban setting is your thing, this one can’t be missed.

Catch Tex Perkins & Friends at GOMA’s ‘Up Late’, Saturday 20th March at 9pm. Tickets via GOMA.

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Cut Copy Poster Exhibition: A Personal Journey for one of Brisbane’s Finest

Image: Leif Ekstrom

The late ’70s and ’80s was a landmark era for Brisbane’s music and youth cultures; and the creative, subversive and DIY nature of the scene is now on display in an immersive and revealing exhibition at the State Library of Queensland.

‘Cut Copy: Brisbane Music Posters 1977-87’ is a collection of over 350 rare, handmade music posters that came together from attics and half-forgotten storage boxes after an inspired hunt by John Willsteed.

For Willsteed, formerly a member of The Go-Betweens and currently guitarist with Halfway and a Senior Lecturer at QUT, the collection involves not only a journey into the history of Brisbane’s music scene, but of his younger self and legacy.

“I have a lot of first-hand knowledge around these posters,” Willsteed says. “I designed some of them, I printed some of them, and I knew all the other people who designed and printed them. It wasn’t a very big scene and everybody knew everybody else. So, maybe this is the last opportunity to grab information from all these people and stick it onto these objects before we all sail off into the west like the elves.”

After a determined search, items came flooding in from around Queensland and further afield, with some from as far away as Spain.

“I had this idea that I would try and collect as many posters as I could; from people that I knew from the ‘scene’, for want of a better way of describing it,” Willsteed says. “I also realised that these people are in their sixties, their kids are growing up, they’ve been hanging on to stuff for a really long time as it was an important part of their youth. Maybe, though it was time to get rid of it and I really wanted them to get rid of it in a place where people would look after it and people could access it forever instead of stuffing it into a wheelie bin or skip. I put a word out on Facebook and collected about 350 items from maybe 20 people. I then spent a summer getting all the relevant details around it and building a database; who the artists and venues were and things like that. Often, posters don’t have a lot on them; many don’t have the year or month and they’ll just have ‘Friday 16th’ at some hall somewhere.”

While the collection will be a trip down a possibly hazy and fun memory lane for many, it also tells important stories about the political and social landscapes of the time.

“We were all on the dole and it was a really creative, productive time,” Willsteed says. “The political times are reflected really obviously, as some posters have images of Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Russ Hinze. Some of them are fundraising gigs, called dances in those days, for campaigns against nuclear power or for people who were paying fines for being arrested in street marches, which were banned in Queensland at the time. The government was anti-youth and used to bust up these dances a lot. The posters also track the existence of bands and venues of the time. 4ZZZ was a force in the late-’70s and became a really important feature of the live music landscape. They booked a lot of international bands and put local bands on those bills. At the same time, there was not much middle ground [between genres] and there were a lot of independent shows in small halls; some still exist and some don’t.”

With such a variety of items on display, the collection holds treasure for every music fan to find.

“There’s a great XTC poster from the early ’80s advertising them playing at Cloudland,” Willsteed says. “As a band that doesn’t tour internationally any more at a venue that doesn’t exist any more, that’s pretty special. There were a few things of mine that I didn’t have copies of that I was surprised to see again. There’s something about the individual nature of them that’s very soothing.

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