jenn jay tales

Jennifer Johnston shares her travel tales; life adventures; observations, photos and random thoughts

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A perfect family getaway with a musical twist

Shelly Beach, Caloundra

Shelly Beach, Caloundra


Hi Jenn Jay Tales readers,

Although it may feel as though I have been asleep on this blog – I can assure you I haven’t been.  I’ve been trying to tackle my travel blog and get that up and running – which I am pleased to say it FINALLY is!

Now to posting some stories – this is the link to my latest blog post on the travel blog – random thoughts and what I got up to over the school holidays.  Please pop over to my other blog for a read: A perfect family getaway with a musical twist

Ferris Wheel at Kings Beach

Ferris Wheel at Kings Beach


Hayden HackThanks and will try and get back into more regular blog posting – but with Christmas less than 10 weeks away – who knows!

Happy travels,




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Always a Winner

Conga Don entertains Brisbane

When a good friend of yours gets up on stage with a professional musician and his band to play an instrument, in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,500,  you have to admire their tenacity and guts!

Conga Don Cattanach took to the stage last Saturday night at the Tivoli Theatre in Brisbane with Pete Murray and his original band The Stonemasons. Pete is currently on his Feeler – 10 Year Anniversary Tour, celebrating the re-release of his album “Feeler.”

Don and Pete at the Tivoli

Conga Don and Pete Murray perform together on stage @ The Tivoli

Pete Murray and the Stonemasons @ Tivoli Brisbane 22.2.14

Pete Murray and The Stonemasons rock The Tivoli, Brisbane

A clever few people in our group of friends have managed to compile this you tube clip with Conga Don accompanying the polished sounds of Murray and band in a crowd favourite: Always a Winner.

Pete you are a generous man for giving Don the opportunity – but you would never have asked if you hadn’t believed in his musical ability.

Thanks for the special treat on the night – and talented Conga Don, I hope this is just the beginning …………………

Conga Don

“I did it, I did it!”

Pete Murray, sis and the older groupies

The man himself, always happy to flash a smile!

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Caloundra Music Festival 2013

Caloundra Music Festival 2013 –  Bustin’ out

CMF Pandanus and Kings Beach img

sun surf and soul – King’s Beach Caloundra, 4-7 October 2013

Music, in all genres and styles was busting out at Caloundra’s Kings Beach, for the 2013 Caloundra Music Festival, (October 4-7th.) There was sun, there was surf and there was soul in bucket-loads. At the grand finale on the Monday night, a handful of Aussie 70’s Rock legends burst onto the Soul Stage, including the iconic and highly entertaining Joe Camilleri. In true rocking spirit he literally busted out his “ass.”

Joe Camilleri bustin out Caloundra Music Festival

Joe Camilleri bustin out Caloundra Music Festival

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Jenn’s Experience of the Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival (Bash)

This review (slightly modified) was originally published on XS Entertainment:

Caxton Street – Seafood Wine and Music Bash – Sunday May 5th, 2013

Billed as one of Australia’s biggest street parties – The Caxton Seafood and Wine Festival 2013,  drew a large crowd this year, hanks to reasonably good weather and a barrage of publicity.  The Festival is for anyone keen to sample seafood delights; sip on a few wines and enjoy  entertainment via an array of musical artists.  As the sun dipped and the music volume grew, like at so many Australian events, where relaxing and drinking is involved, many over-exuberant alcohol-fuelled patrons released their inhibitions.  Continue reading

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Pete Murray Stripped Down at the Hi-Fi Bar

Pete Murray sign

Hi fi sign

Pete Murray and friends played to a packed crowd, at the Hi-Fi in West End, on the eve of Anzac Day.

On his Byron Sessions Tour, Murray deliberately pared it down to the basics. Minus electronic or back-up band, it was his syrupy soulful voice; acoustic guitar; the occasional harmonica and the accompaniment of individually musically talented friends.

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Bruce Rocks Brisbane with Soul

bruce-springsteen Arms up - Getty

Bruce Springsteen gives it to Brisbane – Getty images

Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band last night rocked Brisbane in legendary rock arena style. Playing the opening Australian show on his World Wrecking Ball Tour at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, the Boss, with his re-vamped E Street Band hit the stage running. They entertained the capacity crowd with an energetic performance extending to three plus hours. We watched the Boss strut, gyrate, crowd-surf and repeatedly leave the stage to join the mosh pit. Those lucky fans experienced a decent close-up and many took the opportunity to hand-slap or hug this rock legend. The Boss gave everything in this energetic performance – hard to believe he is 63.

For this tour, 13 talented musicians make up the E street band, including legendary guitarist Nils Lofgren and Soozie Tyrell (violin and guitar.) In Patti’s absence, Soozie and her flowing blonde hair, rocked the femme fatale role. Tom Morello (Against the Machine) filled Steve Van Zandt’s “big” shoes, (playing in Norway according to the Boss.) A classy five piece brass section included the engaging 37 year old, Jake Clemons on baritone saxophone.  The late and undeanibly great Clarence Clemons would be proud of his nephew’s sax talent, especially his mind-blowing moments in Badlands.  Jake shared another skill with the Brisbane audience – a mean worm dance.

Bruce added a local touch, second song into the set, playing a very cool version of the iconic song Just like Fire Would, by Aussie Band The Saints.  Death to my Hometown, another of Bruce’s protest songs from the Wrecking Ball album, channeled the strong Irish influence of his New Jersey roots – a real toe tapper. With Charles Giordano playing a mean accordion, it was hard to not get up and dance an Aussie version of the Irish jig.

 Bruce held off talking to the crowd between songs until the sixth track.   “To get to Australia we had to cross over 1000’s of miles of shark infested waters to answer just one question: Can we feel the spirit?” Bruce chants.

Following the crowd surfing episode, where he felt the need to adjust himself (ever the showman), Bruce knew Brisbane was a bold audience, after something more. A stunning version of Because the Night, a song co-written with and made famous by Patti Smith gave the crowd more. Shackled and Drawn with Cindy Mizelle’s gospel like vocals, transported the crowd to America’s deep south.

In part of his speech in February this year, accepting an award for MusiCares 2013 Person of the year, Bruce said,

 “When we play we want you to feel the hair stand up on your arms and we want you to be glad of being alive.”

The Boondal crowd will often leave after the performer’s last song, before the encore to escape early and attempt to beat the car-park leaving blues – but not with the Boss.  Last night his audience wanted no end to this three hour rock music spectacle. Very glad to be alive and witness this spectacle.

It has been ten (long) years since Bruce last toured Australia. I hope his spirit for Australia and our audiences has been re-ignited and Bruce with his E Street Band continues travelling the long distance to return to our far away shores.  That resolutely set jaw, craggy distinct voice and white-man swagger will always entertain. At 63 he is still the Boss – a musical Legend.

Bruce Boondall (4)

Bruce rocks Brisbane Entertainment Centre

Bruce Boondall (2)

Brisbane Entertainment Centre


Bruce Springsteen Brisbane Entertainment Centre - iphone click March 14

might be far away – but it still felt incredible