Live bands at the Eastern Lounge is a perfect example of the type of nightlife Ku-Ring-Gai needs to slow the younger generation from venturing across the bridge to South of the harbour. On Friday the 11th of April, I attended this ‘lounge’ to see what the event was like. After a melancholy realisation that the event was being held at an RSL club, I was pleasantly surprised with the talent of the evening, as well as the venue and organisation itself.
Called ‘The Eastern Lounge”, the original venue used to be on Eastern Valley Way, and has been a venue for live music performance for a very long time. Two of the acts this evening had performed at the lounge before, one of which (Faye Blais, Canada) said that she had attended on numerous occasions. The inaptly named ‘club’ is located south of Roseville station on the Pacific Highway and is a humble memorial club; small in comparison to others of its kind. However, the great thing about clubs, other than aiding a friendly atmosphere, is cheap beer.
This evening, the bistro area was set out with couches as a lounge, just behind the large dance-floor, and an equally large area of dining tables.
Now, RSL’s do not scream ‘young, hip nightlife’ and the general age of attendees at this event would have been over 40. But it is precisely for reasons like this event that I would promote the lounge to younger generations. The performances and the organisation of the evening would have greatly suited the tastes of most young-adults and some teenagers. The club already has its customer base established in this mature demographic, but the attendance could easily double if it was known better to younger generations. It was a chance to drink casually and socially whilst listening to up-and-coming musicians, who were really very good.
The evening began just after 8PM with the president of the club getting up on stage to address the audience in preparation for the first act; Bella Hemming. Bella is a North Shore girl who is recently out of school. Her album just reached number 25 on the iTunes charts, so it was no surprise she was very impressive. She opened the evening strongly, performing pieces which comprised largely of her own original writing. Her overall performance was very sweet and cute, and I found her performance amazing.
Faye Blais was next. Faye is Canadian who says she visits Australia once a year and most visits have seen her return to the Eastern Lounge. I would strongly recommend seeing her live, as she was very good. She had a very strong voice coupled with an original sound to her music which she composed herself. The Wayne’s World quote “boy, you really wail” was the best description I could think of to depict the absolute power in her performance.
The last number of Faye’s act saw the first approach to the dance-floor. It was made by an elderly couple which was cute but also absolutely hilarious considering the circumstances and lay out of the venue. Someone had to break the Ice though and everyone was glad that this couple had done so.
The Steptones wrapped up the evening with a powerful set comprised of popular covers and some of their own music. Their online profile says their main influences are; Coldplay, John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Thirsty Merc. I could recognise a Jack Johnson sound, but their stage performance skills and something about the instrumental relationship screamed Red Hot Chilli Peppers to me. That’s a big claim and mainly due to the lead singer.
The Steptones set were livelier than the preceding musicians, which resulted in everyone crowding on to the dance-floor. This enthusiasm was good to see and the band clearly enjoyed the reception. They played Miss You by The Rolling Stones and pulled it off well. That’s a good sign of this group’s future prospect, surely?
All in all the night was great, which is why I was disappointed that I had not heard about decent bands playing in my local area before. Maybe the host of the lounge prefers a more mature audience, but this event is exactly what the area needs to entertain younger generations. Strong performances by fresh talent held together a very sturdy framework that comprises the Eastern Lounge as a viable Friday evening out for anyone looking for something to do in Ku-Ring-Gai.
The next evening at ‘The Lounge’ will be on May 9th, featuring “The Doors” Sam Joole & the Light My Fire Band and “Joni Mitchell” Rainee Lyleson. Well worth a look.