What an amazing year. Our very first Parlour gig was in my own backyard in January. Since then over 100 Parlour gigs have taken place all over the country. This has been the realisation of a dream and in 2016 it's only going to get better. We're just putting the final touches on our very first app - (!!!) - more on this early in the new year.
Seeing these gigs has helped us to fall in love with music in a new and profound way. Bringing shows back into the home reminds us of music's ancient power - no lines, noisy crowds or crowded bars. Just friends gathered around in a comfy place, sharing something wonderful; something unique.
But favourites? Very difficult indeed..though there were gigs that really stood out and reminded us of why we started this company.
We're also aware that we could only attend 1 per week in Melbourne, so for the wonderful gigs that took place in Queensland, NSW, SA and WA - we haven't forgotten about you. We just couldn't physically be there to capture the magic to share with the world. That's all going to change next year too - hold tight.
A massive THANK YOU to all the wonderful hosts who opened their homes for Parlour in 2015. We can't tell you what this means for us. Did you know that before we started the company, we were told (by some very conservative types) that no one would want to open their homes to local musicians. We knew they were wrong - but they still scared us a little. We couldn't have done this without you.
So without further ado, these are our picks for the top six Parlour gigs of 2015...
6. Harry James Angus at Chris' place Thornbury, VIC.
This Parlour gig was pitch perfect. Seasoned host, Chris pulled out all the stops for this balmy, backyard affair. Beautiful homemade food and punch was laid out on the table and we especially liked the photos hanging from the clothes line. A nice touch. Harry James Angus (of Cat Empire fame) served up a set of idiosyncratic songs, delivered with passion and humour. We didn't want it to end.
5. Grand Salvo at Mark & Laura's place, Fitzroy North, VIC.
Back in April we were just finding our feet. This was the first gig where you could book tickets online and it worked a treat - the gig sold out in a few short days. Hosts Mark & Laura decked out their stunning backyard in anticipation for their first Parlour gig. Their neighbour, iconic Melbourne indie songsmith, Paddy Man (AKA Grand Salvo) was all set to play when it began bucketing down. We scurried inside and quickly set up an impromptu stage in the living room. Man these songs were good. And listening to them delivered by such a wonderful, humble performer - with rain bucketing down outside was a delight. At this gig we knew we were onto something special.
4. All our exes live in Texas AT Schoolhouse studios, Collingwood, VIC.
We love these girls. They are bloody hilarious. That's not to say that the music isn't gorgeous on every level. But they have a way of making you laugh way harder than you're used to. We'd been looking forward to collaborating with Schoolhouse studios for quite a while, and they were the perfect hosts for AOELIT's intricate folk harmonies. This sold out gig was also the biggest one we've done to date. This brilliant evening was topped off with free Jaffles from the Jaffle Jaffle crew. Bravo.
3.Big smoke at Sam & Lou's Place, Hawthorn, VIC.
This was love at first sound. The evening started in a somewhat unusual way with guests, band and hosts huddled in their infant son's bedroom, waiting to surprise Sam for his birthday. Good vibes all round. After scaring the bejesus out of Sam and his baby son with an enormous 'SURPRISE!!!' Big Smoke promptly set up their instruments and launched into 'Try A Little Love' - a song that immediately captivated the 30 friends that had gathered together for the evening. And it didn't stop there. Each song slowly wrapped its finely crafted melodic tendrils around our hearts.
We love Big Smoke. We have their T-shirts. We try not to miss their shows. We don't think it's an overstatement to say that they are one of the best bands in Australia right now. Seeing them in a living room is like nothing else.
2. Tin Pan Orange, Parlour Winter Series, Collingwood, VIC
By June we had over 2000 sign ups and had received our first wave of media attention. Parlour buzz was in the air. On top of that, our first series at our old office site, Magic Johnston, had sold out ahead of the first show which featured one of our favourite local bands, Tin Pan Orange. We served up complimentary mulled wine and watched the eager crowd take their seat amongst the pillows and blankets we had laid out. Tin Pan Orange charmed the pants off all of us. The songs are so good - but so too is the way everything comes together. We were mesmerised from the get-go. Don't take our word for it, check out the video below.
1. THE MAE TRIO, SUE & AL'S PLACE, BIRREGURRA, VIC.
We couldn't believe our luck when we were summoned to our first Parlour gig in Birregurra - a beautiful little town 1 hour west of Melbourne. The Birregurra Community Arts Group really turned it on for us - even putting the band and the Parlour crew up in lovely B&B's for the night. That would have been enough - but they also put on the gig of the year. It's hard to say what happened here - but it was nothing short of magic. Maybe it was the fact that the gig took place in an old shearing shed covered in fairy lights, or maybe it was the spectacular bonfire, or maybe it was the red wine - but we felt a part of something very ancient that cold winter's night. Ah, I can't help but be over-poetic about it. The Mae Trio's dazzling harmonies filled the space and reminded us all of the power of great music to move us beyond words. We sat in silence and drank it in. Elsie, Maggie and Anita had us in the palm of their hands. Timeless stuff.
So that's all from us this year. We have a big 2016 planned and we'll share details of all that jazz very soon.
By Matt Walters