A great line up of gigs at the Stag in July

July sees Mayfield’s Stag & Hunter Hotel present another killer line up of gigs in their front bar. From the cream of the local crop to national touring artists, month after month these guys deliver and this month is no different.

Our pick of the month’s line up would have to be HOWQUA. It is a rare moment that you find a musician that can captivate you in a single song. Creating a sound that is grounded by honest lyrics but lifted by resonant percussion and melancholic reverb, HOWQUA gives even the most unseasoned of gig-goers that feeling of witnessing an artist on the brink of something huge. Catch HOWQUA at the Stag & Hunter Hotel on July 9. 


With 8 albums, a swag of accolades to his name and 20 years performing, writing and recording, Lloyd Spiegel has certainly squeezed more into 30 years than many do in a lifetime. It’s that experience and presence well beyond his years that has seen him become one of this country’s leading Blues artists and most respected guitarists. His incredible command of the guitar, powerful voice and high energy performance captivates any audience.

Between extensive touring within Australia, Lloyd has travelled worldwide with frequent tours to Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S.A, where he’s toured coast to coast 6 times. During these tours he’s performed at some of the world’s best known Blues venues and largest festivals as well as showcasing at every major international guitar player’s event in the world.

He’s played bills with legendary Blues artists from Buddy Guy and Etta James to Ray Charles, as well as artists from a range of musical genres including Bob Dylan, Peter Frampton and Willie Nelson.


Hailing from the Blue Mountains near Sydney, award-winning Australian solo artist Claude Hay blends slide guitar, sitar, bass and drums to create music that invokes the best of stomping traditional blues, hard rock and booty-shaking funk, all delivered with chops to burn and a vocal range to match.

The Gentle Enemies features Ryan Van Gennip and Jon Howell, a rhythm section team who have worked closely together in various groups including with Chase The Sun, Marshall Okell and Cass Eager, as well as having performed individually with Leonardo’s Bride, Diana Anaid, iOTA, Charlton Hill, Jimmy Little and many others.


It is a rare moment that you find a musician that can captivate you in a single song. Creating a sound that is grounded by honest lyrics but lifted by resonant percussion and melancholic reverb, HOWQUA gives even the most unseasoned of gig-goers that feeling of witnessing an artist on the brink of something huge.

Carrying a certain enigma with his musical style, HOWQUA’s raw and compelling lyrics draw you in, while his performance leaves you yearning to know his story. Not one to shy away from baring his soul through his music, HOWQUA displays all the traits of a phenomenal storyteller and performer.

HOWQUA’s debut EP ‘Naked’ was co-produced with Hayden Calnin. The EP was mixed by Tim Carr (Matt Corby, The Herd) at Studios 301 in Sydney. The EP is currently available in Australia and New Zealand.

With the release of this new album ‘Take These Blues’, Darren Jack again shows his growth as an original artist. This seasoned musical performer’s works no longer relies solely on his incredible guitar talent as they now do on his ever growing song-writing capabilities. And while Jack’s guitar work remains an integral part of his sound, it is his songs released on this album and his multi-award winning 2012 release ‘Better Place’ that has enabled his craft to gain critical recognition.


De’May has been playing guitar since her early teens after she fell in love with her father’s record collection and decided to learn her favourite Neil Young songs. Since then, she has weaved her way through an array of styles and created a sound to call her own. Her blend of English folk (inspired by Nick Drake and John Martyn) along with seventies rock influences (J.J. Cale, Gene Clark) has charmed audiences along the east coast of Australia for the past 3 years, with De’May now writing songs for her second record.

Her debut album ‘If We Don’t Leave Now’ was released in 2014 through Laughing Outlaw Records, described by The Sydney Morning Herald as a “mix of warped sounds and gentle musings” that “tell of tales of loves lost and won”.

“She breathes life into the idea of ghosts” acclaimed The Music, with “her quirky songwriting, sultry voice and deconstructed band.”

Casting off the rusty manacles of Australian folk music, Starboard Cannons awaken a new dawn of contemporary Australiana. Moving across the realm of sparse and haunting folk, diving head first into full-blown, beer spilling, whiskey swilling sea shanty territory, the gents craft string-based tales that sit somewhere between the Scottish Highlands and the Aussie bush. With two albums under their belt, Starboard Cannons have appeared at a slew of major festivals including Woodford Folk Festival, Mullum Music Fest, Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass and The Gum Ball. In February 2015, they were invited to perform as official showcase artists at the world’s biggest folk music conference, Folk Alliance International in Kansas City.

In this age of trends and posturing, Starboard Cannons breathe new life into acoustic music, with the enthusiastic energy and trademark larrikinism that underpins Australiana…


Narla is a young band from North Western Sydney with a wide ranging sound that stems out from rock roots into elements of prog, metal and heavy blues with a strong set of material that changes in style and atmosphere while maintaining a unique and unfamiliar sound. The differing musical influences within the band make for songs with depth, drawing from a contrasting pool of artists like Tool, Nirvana, Down, Red Fang, Led Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age and Alice in Chains. Narla are dynamic, intense, raw and real. A blend of abrasiveness and subtlety.

Australian Blues sensation PJ O’Brien knows how to get a Blues party started. His blistering fretwork has been turning heads from Perth to Memphis, Chicago, Austin, London, Singapore and back again. Along with frequent flyer points PJ has gathered a swag of awards including: Blues Song of the Year, WA Music Awards (WAMIs); Music Oz Blues Artist of the Year; Sydney Blues Society Performer of the Year; Best New Talent, Song of the Year and Group Of the Year ‘Chain’ Australian Blues Awards.

Driven by PJ’s hard-edged, Chicago and Texas style guitar and accompanied by his smooth, soul-filled vocals, PJ’S music is receiving worldwide acclaim. His Blues exude a retro and modern feel simultaneously, delivering award-winning songwriting and spine-tingling dynamics. Tom Hyslop of Blues Revue USA has labelled PJ ‘a talent to watch’ and Al Hensley of Rhythms Magazine Australia recently named him ‘one of the brightest talents to emerge on the Aussie Blues scene in a long while….an international blues star on the rise’. The PJ O’Brien Band also features legendary bass player Al Britton (Bondi Cigars), Dave Fester (Glen Cardier and the Sideshow).


Stone Empire originated in 2011 when lead Vocalist and Guitarist Justin Dorin found himself in a small town on the Mid East Coast of Australia just outside of Newcastle.

With a head full of music and a heart full of pain Justin Dorin began turning that pain into Lyrics, matched with Killer Guitar Riffs and Drum beats in his Head and his unstoppable internal drive to turn his music into something more.

Pulling together a Band who could all see the raw passion, Stone Empire was formed. One hard working band with a truck load of drive and tenacity.


When asked to describe the sound of her new band Legs Electric, drummer Kylie Soanes thinks for a few seconds before replying with a big smile, “It’s like being run over by a steam train.” That pretty much sums it up. Blending a love of contemporary hard rock with the blues groove of 70’s era arena rock, Perth’s Legs Electric would not be out of place opening for Led Zeppelin at the LA Forum in ’75 or for Aerosmith at the old Boston Garden in ’78.

Although Legs Electric is very much a sisterhood, don’t be distracted by their good looks – these ladies can flat out play. When they hit the stage and Kylie starts pounding the drums, Abby’s bass begins to rumble, Laura’s guitar starts to snarl and Ama’s soulful vocals begin to soar – it’s on.

It’s loud, it’s dangerous and it’s intense – just like great Rock ‘n’ Roll should be.

Written by Newcastle Live

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