Burning Love in Bendigo: The final edition of the music series combining Elvis’ musical legacy and local musicians

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Burning Love in Bendigo: The final edition of the music series combining Elvis’ musical legacy and local musicians

Cool Sounds | Elvis at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, 1956. © EPE. Graceland and its marks are trademarks of EPE. All Rights Reserved. Elvis Presley™ © 2021 ABG EPE IP LLC.

Dust off your blue suede shoes, the final edition of Burning Love with Cool Sounds and The Burning Lovers goes ahead this weekend.

John Lennon famously once said, “Before Elvis there was nothing.” There’s no doubt, Elvis Presley is undeniably one of the most iconic and influential figures of the 20th century.

His music (more than one billion record units sold worldwide), presence and legacy have been celebrated countless times in countless ways, and while Bendigo’s exclusive exhibition Elvis: Direct From Graceland continues this celebration, there’s a new music series showcasing the musical revolution in a rather spectacular fashion. 

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

Presented by Hear Them Holler and Bendigo Venues & Events, ’Burning Love at Bendigo’ has been celebrating the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, over the past few weeks, featuring exceptional emerging Australian bands and artists that attendees are guaranteed to love. 

Taking to Bendigo’s historic fire station, the Engine Room, the new concert series – named after Elvis’ 1972 hit ‘Burning Love’ – was designed with a perfectly curated lineup of cool and considered performers in mind. 

Enlisting the vocal talents and larger-than-life energy from Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, Gabriella Cohen, Cool Sounds and Freya Josephine Hollick, the series sees each act tap into a different genre of Elvis’s musical legacy including gospel, soul, country, early pop, Americana, blues and 60s rock ‘n’ roll.

“For this series, we focused on bringing contemporary touring musicians who are tapping into different genres of Elvis’s back catalogue through their music,” says Lior Albeck-Ripka, founder of Hear Them Holler.

“We’ve chosen artists that we think that people who like Elvis will like and appreciate. Not many people can’t find a hook and connection to Elvis in some form but we also chose artists who all had a strong live show and who knew how to relate to an audience because that’s something very unique about Elvis. What he gave to audiences was just so unique and high energy and seductive, so we wanted to present engaging artists.”

“We wanted to make sure that people could feel that connection to Elvis and that we heard traces of Elvis influences in their music. We were acknowledging that a lot of the people who might be coming have never heard of these artists, so they needed to speak for themselves.”

Arriving in a regional city swarming with Elvis fans travelling to Bendigo to explore the private life and legacy of Elvis through the biographical exhibition, the series has already delivered three sold-out shows, designed for music fans looking for new experiences during their weekend in Bendigo.

While Elvis’ voice is truly iconic, his enduring influence came from his ability to bring together elements of country, blues, and gospel, stir in a little rhythm, and create a new and fresh sound. These artists don’t sound like Elvis (no one ever could), but they embody the spirit of the King, representing what Elvis was all about through soulful lyrics and melodies, and a larger-than-life stage presence. 

Not only does this series provide an opportunity for music lovers to hear different influences and how Elvis has influenced musicians in different ways, but it allows emerging musicians to connect with new audiences that they might have otherwise never reached. 

“We had Gabriel Cohen perform a couple of weeks ago and no one had heard of her there but she just had them eating out a palm of her hand,” Lior explains. 

“It’s just been amazing to see fans be converted, not because someone’s told them to check her out or that she was on triple j, but just going out for this intimate, beautiful, organic, authentic live music experience, where everyone’s listening and the performers are loving it as well and feeling like there’s real engagement and appreciation from the crowd.”

Alongside Gabriella Cohen and her laidback, tongue-in-cheek throwbacks to 60s girl groups and Lou Reed-cool, the series has also seen Australia’s Queen of Soul Emma Donovan and the almighty rhythm combo Putbacks bless the crowd with a country gospel treat and Freya Josephine Hollick deliver a soulful take on alternative country music, with one final performance to come this weekend from regional Victorian guitar-pop heroes Cool Sounds. 

Armed with their effortless Nashville cool that’s full of poetic lyricism, whammy-county guitar and Randy Newman-esque melodies, Cool Sounds will round out the incredible series, giving them a chance to showcase the material off their newest album ‘Bystander’ (a nine-track album more implanted in the band’s alt-country subcurrent than ever before) while paying tribute to the King, adding a Cool Sounds touch to all the classics that people know.

“Cool Sounds are an amazing recorded band and incredible live,” Lior adds. 

“They’ve got this cool surf-rock, Americana, alt-country vibe with really clever lyrics and great grooves that will just light up the stage. They’re just really melodic and have crafted some interesting pop songs with beautiful harmonies. Everyone who has seen them live is always like, ‘wow’ and even their records are beautifully produced.”

While these acts have been key to the success of the series, each night the headline artist has been supported by and guest-starred with a special ‘Elvis Tribute’ set put together by The Burning Lovers Band – a line-up of local Bendigo musical royalty, featuring musicians from Cosmic Psychos, Bluestown Junction, Ramble Town, Benny and the Fly By Nighters and The Quarry Hillbillies, who have come together for this series to celebrate the music of the King.

While you’ll hear the music of Elvis, his band and backing singers, this isn’t your regular tribute act. You won’t see jumpsuits, rhinestones or karate stances… they feel that those specifics are best left to the King himself. For The Burning Lovers, it’s all about the music.

“What’s been great about the series is that the feature artists have also been performing Elvis covers, which everybody loves, and then they also are doing a couple of songs with The Burning Lovers band, which has been a highlight for a lot of the audiences,” Lior says. 

“It’s really beautiful because the audience gets to know the artists and hear some of their original music and then they hear all the Elvis songs, and then they hear the artists that they just have been getting to know come up and do something inspired with The Burning Lovers band.”

Arriving hand-in-hand with ‘Elvis: Direct from Graceland’, which iconically travelled from Memphis, Tennessee, the Burning Love Bendigo series has the power to warm you from the inside out, especially with a special Elvis beer from Bendigo East Brewery, heaters and beautifully theatre seating. 

“Most people who are in Bendigo have been to the exhibition and they’re looking for something else to do, feeling inspired by the exhibition and want hear live music. There’s just not that much on offer in the way of live music, so hopefully, we’re filling a little bit of a gap.” 

Bringing the influence of Elvis to life – through the songs the emotion, the energy, and the raw power – the series has been a true celebration of local live music, igniting one of Bendigo’s most beautiful venues and the local music scene in new and exciting ways. 

It’s your last chance to witness the magic of Burning Love Bendigo this weekend. Don’t sleep on it. 

Burning Love starring Cool Sounds will take place at The Engine Room, 58 View Street, Bendigo on Saturday, June 11. Tickets and further information via the Burning Love website

This article was made in partnership with Hear Them Holler and Bendigo Venues & Events.