LAURA Higgins, aka LaHi, experienced something special last Saturday night as she performed at Port Macquarie's Finnians Hotel.
More than 100 people were dancing as she and her backing band, The Diks, performed tracks from her debut EP The Purge.
"I thought, 'this is incredible. What's going on?'," Higgins said. "We've never had people dancing for us because we only started as a band at the end of last year.
"So we've never had the chance for people to dance. So getting that now is really exciting, especially for songs I've written."
The Purge was released on March 21 and the Singleton-bred Sydney-based singer-songwriter has been on a hectic schedule ever since, performing gigs in Newcastle, Central Coast, Sydney, Canberra, Port Macquarie and Wollongong.
The 20-year-old Higgins, who studies music at the University of NSW, had initially planned to record a debut album last year. However, COVID-19 forced her to return home to Singleton temporarily where she wrote The Purge's closing track Stormy Monday.
From there she wrote the EP's other tracks Sweep, Catch 22, Hypocritic and Battlefield as she "purged" her feelings.
"There's songs are about relationships that aren't working out, songs about people being political hypocrites and that makes me so angry," she said. "It's just a vent of frustrations."
However, what really shines is the former Hunter Valley Grammar student's playful jazz-infused vocal, mixed with obvious rock and hip hop influences.
"There's little raps in there that you don't usually hear in jazz," she said. "It's just something I've always found fun."
Audiences are finding fun in LaHi's music, too. On May 1 she'll play her biggest show yet when she headlines Sydney's Factory Theatre.
HOMESICKNESS wasn't one of the anxieties most people were feeling last year when the COVID-19 lockdown confined many of us to our house.
However, that's how Sleepeaser frontman Jake Hewish felt. Homesick from his own life, he channeled his frustration into music and the result is arguably his Newcastle emo band's most compelling effort.
Homesick will be released on Friday and launched at their Hamilton Station Hotel show later that night.
"The idea behind the song is feeling the monotony of waking up and doing the same thing and feeling like you're not being who you wanna be, you're just living life how someone else might imagine you living life," Hewish said.
"That feeling of being homesick from your own life. That idea sprung to me when I was in that grind of working and coming home."
Since Sleepeaser's last release in 2020 the band has become a four-piece after the departure of guitarist Matt March, who has a new solo project, Sunshine Magazine.
SPACEY Jane rescheduled their Civic Theatre shows for May 4 and 5 after they were forced to cancel Wednesday night's double bill due to frontman Caleb Harper's throat problem.
Harper lost his voice last week which led to the cancellation of the Perth indie band's shows at the Fremantle Arts Centre at the weekend.
A specialist warned Harper he risked causing permanent damage to his vocal chords if he persisted with his immediate shows.
"Due to Caleb's voice still being out, and after continued consultation with throat specialists here in Perth, we've had to make the call to postpone the two shows in Newy scheduled for this Wednesday [April 14]," Spacey Jane said in a statement.
"We're so bummed we won't be seeing you this week, but confident that we'll be back and in good health really soon."
Tickets for the early show will be valid for May 4 and punters booked for the later show are eligible for May 5.
Spacey Jane were initially scheduled to debut in Newcastle last year at the Small Ballroom before it was cancelled by the pandemic. Following the release of their debut album Sunlight and triple j Hottest 100 No.2 track Booster Seat, the four-piece have become one of Australia's hottest bands.
JEBS DROP IN
ALT-rock legends Jebediah return to the Cambridge Hotel on May 7 to play their first Newcastle show since the 2019 Scene & Heard festival.
The Leaving Home and Harpoon hit-makers made their successful return to live performance following COVID-19 in January at Adelaide.
While there's no new Jebs tunes on the horizon, frontman Kevin Mitchell is gearing up to release his sixth Bob Evans studio album Tomorrowland on Friday. Expect some tour news on that front shortly.
MELBOURNE pop-rockers Boom Crash Opera are returning to the stage and Newcastle is on the itinerary.
The Mezz Bar at Wallsend Diggers will host the '80s band on June 11 with original vocalist Dale Ryder in tow.
Ryder left Boom Crash Opera in 2016, but returned to the fold in 2019.