314 Sydney Road
Brunswick VIC 3056
It’s a sought-after venue in Brunswick, a big, open space accommodating up to 260 people. An old building, it has very high ceilings, artfully chosen hangings and fittings, and a broad stage perfect for presenting concerts to a paying audience. I opened there for the late Vin Garbutt, and have seen some brilliant gigs there from a broad range of genres. Its theme is reminiscent of its previous life as a reception centre. You can book for dinner or sit along the bar, and it is popular for its balcony overlooking Sydney Road. Proprietors Wade and Carl are good businessmen and good people, and while Wade is definitely more gregarious, Carl has a drier sense of humour. So it was Wade who joined us on camera. An on-camera role is unusual for venue managers – in their business, promotion is focussed on service or on artists, not themselves. Although our hosts deal face to face with the community all the time, they are rarely the main focus of the night.
Wade and Carl, who took over just a couple of years ago, make a special effort to make both punters AND entertainers feel welcome. Kylie is fond of them for that reason, too. Hosting a sold-out gig for her birthday bash in 2017, Auldist chose the Mallard because she knew they would treat her well, with respect, and be keen to make sure the night was a success. It was a significant night for her, and she makes a point of describing to us how important their positivity was to the success of her night, and of course her fondness for that stage.
A powerhouse vocalist, Auldist is praised by the world’s soul and R&B community as an extraordinary talent. Often working with guitarist Lance Ferguson, she’s also well-known for her work with The Bamboos.
She hit gold when her vocals on the summer hit This Girl by Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners gained more than 250 million views, reaching #1 in France, Germany and Portugal and #2 in the UK, where it sat for 9 weeks. It took out the top spot on iTunes in the UK and throughout Europe, reaching the top 100 in over 50 countries including the US where it hit #2 on the electronic charts. Her fourth album Family Tree won Best Album in the 2016 funk/soul category at The Age Music Victoria Awards.
Ago has worked with her before, and suggested I invite her to AOQR. I am thrilled to have her with us and it takes a while for me to remember how different our styles are. I meet with her at 9am on the day of the shoot to go over the music. Getting the hang of Letterhead Life is nervous, difficult work – it’s basically just three simple chords, but Kylie is totally gracious and by the end of the day we worked it out. I’m very lucky that our engineer for this project, Jules Abrahams, is a fantastic instrumentalist and was on-hand to correct a couple of chord shapes for me. By the time cameras are set up, I’m good to go. Phew. The songs sound great, and I’m so glad I had a go at them.
Co-written with Lance Ferguson
Letterhead Life is all about soul. It’s a cruisy Sunday song, a summer kitchen listen, and comes across as being full of peace and love for a past relationship. Co-written with Lance Ferguson of The Bamboos, the melody & lyrics are full of nostalgic joy:
nevermind, been a while, though your smile’s the same….
‘The Other Side Of The Mountain’
by Chris Altmann
Kylie stepped outside of her usual genre for this project, choosing a song which has been brilliantly recorded by Suzannah Espie. Already a big fan myself, I can see why Kylie was drawn to her: Espie has a massive voice and is an incredible performer. This anthemic Americana number was written by Adelaide Hills native Chris Altmann, now based in Canada. In demand as a session player, he’s on dozens of roots recordings and has performed with many artists including Espie, Henry Wagons, and Tim Hicks. He released his 3rd solo album Renaissance Man in 2016.
‘The Lime Tree’
Written as a gift for a friend, The Lime Tree is a blessing on a house. It’s optimistic and earthy and is another great harmony song. Originally a poem, the song owes a debt to Michael Waugh who helped me finish the chords and arrangement, and has been a favourite among the country crowds. It’s got a long refrain and offers a good range for harmony. Though it sounds simple, each verse has a different shape, just slightly, so it often doesn’t make a set list with newer band members.