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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] The Waifs @ Northcote Theatre, Melbourne 08/06/2023

Review By Terri Nas

Thursday night took me on an adventure to the inner north of Melbourne, to the beautiful and stunningly restored Northcote Theatre. Built over 100 years ago, the building provides a beautiful mood and atmosphere as soon as you enter the doors. With its high ceilings decorated with ornate plaster work and the breathtaking cocktail bar on the mezzanine overlooking the theatre, you feel as if you’ve been transported back to another era. Here, is where I was to have my front row encounter with the talented and melodious Aussie folk rock act, The Waifs

20 years. 20 years can either feel like yesterday or an entire lifetime ago but in terms of music, time is irrelevant and The Waifs and their nostalgia-inducing music are a testament to that. The band are currently touring to celebrate the 20 years since their chart-topping album Up All Night was released back in 2003.

It was standing room only for the sold-out crowd, and the night began with an introduction from Mama Kin Spender who was the support act for the night. With Mama Kin on vocals and drum/rhythm section, and her offsider, Spender, on guitar and vocals, they provided some funky tracks with deep lyrics and a rich sound to get us moving and in the mood. 

The Waifs, consisting of Josh Cunningham, sisters Donna Simpson & Vikki Thorn, and rhythm section Ben Franz & David Ross MacDonald, entered the stage to an excitable audience and got everyone fired up and stomping along with the first song of the night, Fisherman’s Daughter. 

Nothing New was to follow, and then we soon found ourselves in London Still in which Donna recalled an entertaining story of trying to use her street cred of the song’s Triple J Hottest 100 success, on a younger generation that had no idea who she was. 

We were then immersed in Josh’s life dream of living a solitary life with a personal favourite of mine, Lighthouse. I adore this song for many reasons, but it’s the stunning harmonies in the bridge and Vikki’s harmonica solo that really hits the spot for me.

Flesh & Blood slowed the pace with its slow and gritty vibe, and then we took a “12 hour drive” on Highway One. We kept venturing through the Up All Night album in song order, and then once we arrived at Three Down, the lyrics and melody had me back walking the streets of towns that I love in the Deep South of America.

The Waifs have a literal way of storytelling which has the ability to relay their stories straight to your heart, unleashing a wave of nostalgia and memories that may or may not be your own. Since I’ve Been Around is a perfect example of this, and if you’ve ever moved away from your small hometown to the big city, then it’s one that will hit hard. 

To close off the album set was the atmospheric title track, Up All Night. We were then treated to a couple of extra songs from different albums, including a new song written about Donna’s latest love, The Swing

The Waifs bid us farewell and departed the stage, but naturally the crowd were hungry for more so they had no choice but to reappear for an encore. 

The encore was our train ride home from the gig, opening with the fun and upbeat Crazy Train and followed up with the beautiful song written about their grandmother, Bridal Train. After it was requested by many of the punters during the show, we were treated to a final rendition of the much-loved favourite, Gillian

This was the second time I’ve seen The Waifs this year, and it was so wonderful to experience them in a completely different setting this time. Their unique sound, flawless harmonies, and raw & relatable songwriting is what make this group so well-loved. Speaking to fellow fans, their music plays such a pivotal part in people’s lives through the highs and lows that life brings. A brilliant feel-good gig, and I can’t wait to catch them again. 

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The Waifs ‘Up All Night’ 20th Anniversary Australian Tour 2023

The Waifs are delighted to announce an extensive Australian tour spanning from June to September, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their seminal album Up All Night’.  Each show will see the band play the album in full and a sprinkling of fan favourites. They will be joined by special guests and great friends along the way who have each had their own impact on The Waifs career over the years, including multiple ARIA Award winner Missy Higgins (Melbourne show only), who did her first national tour supporting the original Up All Night album tour in 2003. 
To mark this occasion, they will release ‘Up All Night’ on vinyl for the first time with a limited signed edition available as part of a VIP ticket package. 
From their inception in 1992 to 2002, The Waifs traversed Australia playing every small town with a local paper, a local radio station, a pub or hall that would host live music, and someone willing to listen, of which there were many! Constant touring laid a broad foundation, musical chemistry, and an approachable relatability through their lyrics solidified a lifelong, dedicated fan base.
The original independent avant-garde folk heroes, they released three LPs, self-titled The Waifs (1996), Shelter Me (1998) and Sink or Swim (2000) during that time with the unwavering support of community radio, ABC local and metro radio, street press and local papers.
In July 2002, everything changed thanks to their breakthrough single ‘London Still’, “The Waifs' heartfelt, plucked ode to missing home resonated with every Australian that has ever found themselves in a far-flung, cold place somewhere across the globe”, said Junkee in their
Greatest Australian Songs Of All Time list. ‘London Still’ caught the ears of the mainstream and youth radio station triple j, who threw it onto high rotation and paved the way for the
following singles ‘Fisherman’s Daughter’ , ‘Lighthouse’,Highway One’ and ultimately their 2003 LP ‘Up All Night’.
Recorded between LA and Melbourne, with Canadian producer Mark Howard – (Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, U2, Willie Nelson, Neil Yong, REM), and beloved ARIA Award-winning Australian producer, Chris Thompson. ‘Up All Night’ debuted at #3 on the ARIA charts and won four ARIA Awards for Best Blues and Roots Album, Best Independent Album, Engineer of The Year and Producer of The Year for Chris Thompson.
‘London Still’ was voted in at #3 on the triple J Hottest 100, and ‘Up All Night’ reached double platinum certification.
2003 was an unforgettable year for the band comprising of sold-out international headline tours, being the first Australian band to play New Orleans Jazz Festival, touring with Bob Dylan in Australia and the USA and being named in Rolling Stone’s ‘Moments that Changed the History of Rock and Roll’ story, that citied their independence and mainstream success as a game changer for musicians in the future.
The rest, as they say, is history to be read and to be written!
The Waifs continue to forge a proudly independent path 30 years on and show no sign of slowing down. They look forward to seeing you all out on the road to welcome you back or invite you into Waif World!

 Double J presents

The Waifs
With guests Josh Pyke, Mick Thomas, Jeff Lang, 
Jordie Lane, Liz Stringer, Felicity Urquhart and more to be announced.
Plus a special Melbourne appearance by Missy Higgins.

Thu 1 June @ Queenscliff Town Hal, Queenscliff, VIC
Fri 2 June @ Ballarat Civic Hall, Ballarat, VIC
With special guest Jeff Lang
Sat 3 June @ Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
With special guests Jeff Lang & Missy Higgins  
Sun 4 June @ Riverlinks Westside Theatre, Shepparton, VIC
With special guest Jeff Lang
Wed 7 June @ Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC
Fri 9 June @ Gippsland Performing Arts Cent, Traralgon, VIC
Sat 10 June @ Burrinja Cultural Centre, Upwey, VIC
Sun 11 June @ Capitol Theatre, Bendigo,  VIC
Tue 13 June @ Lighthouse, Warrnambool, VIC
Tues 4 July @ Birdsville Big Red Bash, Simpson Desert, QLD bigredbash.com.au
Thur 6 July @ Pilbeam Theatre, Rockhampton, QLD
With special guest TBC
Fri 7 July @ Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville, QLD
With special guest TBC
Sat 8 July @ Tanks, Cairns, QLD
With special guest TBC
Sun 9 July @ Tanks, Cairns, QLD
With special guest TBC
Thur 13 July @ Canberra Theatre, Canberra, ACT
With special guest Josh Pyke
Fri 14 July @ Civic Theatre, Newcastle, NSW
With special guest Josh Pyke
Sat 15 July @ State Theatre, Sydney, NSW
With special guest Josh Pyke
Sun 16 July @ Anitas, Wollongong, NSW
With special guest Josh Pyke
Wed 19 July @ The Events Centre, Caloundra, QLD
With special guest Mick Thomas 
Thur 20 July @ Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
With special guest Mick Thomas 
Fri 21 July @Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD – SOLD OUT
With special guest Mick Thomas 
Sat 22 July@ Empire Theatre, Toowoomba, QLD
With special guest Mick Thomas 
Sun 23 July @ Miami Marketta, Miami, QLD
With special guest Mick Thomas 
Fri 4 August @ Odeon Theatre, Hobart, TAS
With special guest Jordie Lane  
Sat 5 August @ The Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide, SA
With special guest Jordie Lane  
Tue 8 August @ Tamworth Town Hall, Tamworth, NSW
With special guests Felicity Urquhart and Josh Cunningham   
Wed 9 August @ The Art House. Wyong, NSW
With special guests Felicity Urquhart and Josh Cunningham   
Thur 10 August @ Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Cent, Bathurst, NSW
With special guests Felicity Urquhart and Josh Cunningham   
Sat 12 August @ Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, NT
With special guest TBC
Thur 17 August @ Mundi Mundi Bash, Broken Hill, NSW
Sat 2 September @ Perth Concert Hall, Perth, WA

With special guest Liz Stringer
Sun 3 September @ Mandurah Performing Arts Cent, Mandurah, WA
With special guest Liz Stringer
Thu 7 September @ Goldfields Arts Cent, Kalgoorlie, WA
With special guest Liz Stringer
Fri 8 September @ Esperance Civic Cent, Esperance, WA
With special guest Liz Stringer
Sat 9 September @ Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany, WA
With special guest Liz Stringer
Wed 13 September @  Margaret River HEART, Margaret River, WA
With special guest Liz Stringer
Thur 14 September @ Bunbury Regional Ent Cent, Bunbury, WA
With special guest Liz Stringer
Sat 16 September @ Queens Park Theatre,  Geraldton, WA  
With special guest Liz Stringer
Fri 22   September @ Darwin Ent Cent, Darwin, NT
With special guest TBC
Sun 24 September @ The Roebuck Bay Hotel, Broome, WA
With special guest TBC

Pre-Sale Tix On-Sale Thursday, April 20th
General On-Sale Friday, April 21st


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Summersalt Announce First Round of Shows for 2022



Following the enormous success of the SummerSalt concert series across Australia over past summer seasons, Zaccaria Concerts & Touring are thrilled to announce their next season of SummerSalt shows around Australia in 2022. First cabs off the rank are Tasmania & Western Australia!

For Tasmania, music lovers are set for a stellar line-up of artists, featuring MISSY HIGGINS, XAVIER RUDD, BIRDS OF TOKYO, PETE MURRAY, THE WAIFS, THE DREGGS and TULLIAH, on the lawns of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart.

For WA, the top-notch line-up will feature MISSY HIGGINS, XAVIER RUDD, BIRDS OF TOKYO, THE WAIFS, PETE MURRAY, COTERIE and BANJO LUCIA, under the norfolk pines, rustled by the ocean breeze at Esplanade Park in Fremantle.

Since its inception, SummerSalt has continued to deliver the finest Australian artists in some of the most scenic locations around the country. These festival events will be a great day out with live music and a vibrant setting. It’s the perfect place to bask in the sun, while kicking back or dancing the day and night away to some of Australia’s best live music.

Homegrown Australian talent performing live music in these superb locations and family friend environments, local market stalls, lush lawns, food trucks, and a selection of refreshing beverages, making it perfect for a day in the sunshine.

Promoter, John Zaccaria said “after powering through a tumultuous time for events, we are so excited to bring another great round of shows to Tasmania & Western Australia. We’re all keen to get back to enjoying fun days out with friends and some of Australia’s best live music. We have another top line-up of homegrown Aussie talent to bring to Hobart & Fremantle and can’t wait to see music fans out again making sensational summer memories with their mates.”

Today’s announcement coincides with the release of two short films released today that give a behind the scenes look from Australia’s promoters, artists, production crew, ticketing agents, and all those involved in getting live events back on the road across the country amidst lockdowns and imposed restrictions on mass gatherings. The films were commissioned and supported by Ticketmaster. The first film titled Radical Hope follows SummerSalt promoter John Zaccaria as he staged the first national tours in early 2021, SummerSalt and By The C, following the nationwide lockdown. The film stars an array of Australian music stars, including Missy Higgins, John Butler, and Felix Riebl (The Cat Empire), and industry legends Icehouse tour manager Larry Ponting, President, Live Nation Asia Pacific Roger Field, Ticketmaster Head of Strategic Partnerships, Rob D’Orazio and Event Health Management, Managing Director Hugh Singe.

The second film titled Back To Live takes a broader look at the industry, focusing on the importance of touring for artists, the need of community for fans, and a look to the future of our industry. In this film, artists and performers include Missy Higgins, John Butler, Tim Rogers (You Am I), Emily Wurramara, and British comedian Russell Howard.


Missy Higgins is one of our most beloved singer/songwriters and her acclaimed studio albums, The Sound of White, On a Clear Night, The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle, Oz and Solastalgia have sold more than two million copies. Classic songs like “Scar”, “The Special Two”, “Steer”, “Everyone’s Waiting” and “Futon Couch”, plus her unforgettable live shows, have made Missy an authentic household name.

She has won nine ARIA awards and multiple APRA Awards. Missy received a Screen Music Award for Best Original Song composed for the Screen for Australian Film “Don’t Tell” and contributed songs for powerful ABCTV drama “Total Control”. She began 2020 by releasing single ‘Carry You’ written by Tim Minchin for his TV show ‘Upright’ and capped off the year with the release of “When The Machine Starts” a song focussing on positives that might be drawn from the year’s lockdown experiences. The stories Missy shares through songwriting come to life on stage as enjoyed by thousands of fans at her summer shows.

Xavier Rudd’s relentless upward arc is among the most astounding success stories of our time. Over 20 years of touring has seen his global fan base swell to perform sell-out concerts in Japan, throughout Europe, Canada, the USA, including his infamous sold-out Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 2018.

Countless more celebrated acts have come and gone like fireworks as his campfire steadily grows: a beacon to the kind of music fan that seeks sustenance in a fast-food world.

Birds of Tokyo formed in Perth in 2004 and have grown from independent roots to become one of Australia’s most popular contemporary rock bands. Songs like “Plans”, “Lanterns”, “This Fire”, “Anchor” and “I’d Go With You Anywhere” have all been top 10 airplay hits and have led to appearances at every major festival in this country including Falls, Splendour In The Grass and Groovin’ The Moo, as well as headlining slots at the AFL Grand Final and NRL’s flagship State of Origin game.

Subsequent records have helped the band carve a singular career for more than a decade, including 2012’s March Fires, which debuted at #1 on the ARIA Album Chart and produced triple-platinum radio hit “Lanterns”, gold-certified EP Anchor (2015) and 2016’s top #3-peaking album BRACE.

More than 70 Birds of Tokyo songs have featured on Triple J, making them one of the station’s three most played artists of this millennium. The band are also the only artist in history to win “Rock Work of the Year” on five separate occasions at the prestigious APRA Awards.

Multi-platinum selling Pete Murray has released 7 albums over an impressive career and is one of only a few Australian artists with over 1 million album sales under his belt. He has received 17 ARIA nominations throughout his career. Pete’s first three albums all reached #1 on the Australian music charts and his first album FEELER reached number 1 and remained in the Top 100 for two and a half years.

Pete Murray’s music is part of the Australian soundtrack with his tracks well-known and loved around the country. Pete won an APRA Award for ‘Most Performed Australian Work for his single ‘So Beautiful’. Single ‘Better Days’ has been nominated for ‘Song of the Year’ at the APRA Awards, while ‘Opportunity’ has received a nomination for ‘Most Performed Australian Work’.

Pete Murray is back with brand new music in the shape of ‘Hold Me Steady’ and he wishes people take from this song a happy memory or time in their life – as well as for it to make them not be able to resist wanting to sing it very loud every time they hear it!

A trip that began in a van in 1992, playing gigs anywhere in Australia that would have them, has led The Waifs to multiple ARIA Awards, platinum albums and successful tours across the world. With a career spanning more than 25 years off the back of relentless touring and ground-breaking records such as Up All Night and A Brief History, the hard yards in those early days paid off in terms of their career, but also bound them together as friends.

The original road warriors, The Waifs have built a career out of continually circling Australia and the globe. From bustling cities to the farthest regional and coastal towns, they have spent the past 25 years, reuniting with old friends, and gathering new fans, thanks to their enchanting live shows and affable natures.

Australian Indie-Folk duo, The Dreggs, were formed in 2017, and are made up of Paddy Macrae and Zane Harris. Equipped with two acoustic guitars and a stomp, the Dreggs are masters at keeping it simple, uncomplicated and a hell of a lot of fun.

With the release of their popular single, ‘Give Myself to You’ (2017), they received a significantly positive response, with airtime on Triple J’s ‘Roots & All’ and along with playing countless shows throughout SE Qld, helped them to develop a strong fan base, and let the world know that the Dreggs were here to stay. They continued to power through 2018 with the release of ‘Feel Alive’ and ‘Gold’, and then crashing through an epic 2019, releasing two singles ‘Just One Night’ and ‘You and Me’, and also making it to the line-up of a few major festivals and selling out shows on their National Tours.

At 19 years old, Tulliah, from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, simply writes from a place of heartfelt experiences with melodies that seamlessly wash over you. One of those songs – ‘Company’, a piano-backed pop song written about toxic crushes and unreciprocated feelings – gave Tulliah the tag of an ‘act of Australia’s future’, placed upon her after becoming a finalist in 2019’s Triple J Unearthed High competition. Off the back of that one single (and after finishing her exams), Tulliah blossomed. She signed to touring agency Select Music and supported acts like Amy Shark and GRAACE on tours, played Melbourne festival shows with Ball Park Music and Thelma Plum, and saw the world desperately ask for what’s next – something she was quietly working on, while still honing in on her skills and solidifying her craft.

Now, with a debut EP titled ‘Fre$h Hugs’ released March 2021, we’re able to go a little deeper into the musical mind of Tulliah and the potent bursts of indie-pop that come from one of Australia’s most exciting new names. The EP is a dizzying six tracks that simultaneously capture Tulliah’s brilliance in pop music as well as the heartfelt stories and emotions that give them their soothing edge: balancing intimacy and richness through swirling and incredibly powerful pop music.

Coterie, 4 brothers from Perth who grew up on their parents hand-me-down RNB mixtapes but fell in love with the electric sounds of Jimmy Hendrix guitars. They encompass an authenticity often lost in modern music. Their blend of indie rock meets pop is shared through records made in their lounge-room, telling stories via lyrics drawn from real life experiences with melodically rich vocals that bring a raw narrative heat to the songs, their live shows harness a lifetime of musical blood that evokes feeling, one that you can only get when 16 years of jamming simply speaks for itself.

Banjo Lucia is a passionate singer and songwriter steeped in a deep love for the craft and tradition. Her songs reveal a wisdom and sophisticated turn of phrase that belie her age, revealing an insight into the human condition that is at once heart breaking and uplifting. Her ability to turn mundane details into profound familiarity and transport the listener into the centre of her experience as if it was their own, is the mark of a truly gifted writer.

So, jump on board, folks and join us as SummerSalt sets to shine in all its glory again!





Sunday, 6th February 2022





Sunday, 6th March 2022

Tickets on sale for both shows on Saturday 9th October at 10.00am

Tickets are available at:


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