Live Music



Gigs at The Labour In Vain

Upcoming | Archive: 2017 2016 2015
  • Sun

    White Lightning Duo


    White Lightning evolved when Vocalist/Guitarist Sean McConnell realised there was an important element missing from his solo music projects - A solid, thumping, sexy groove.

    Over many late night whiskey drinking, record spinning jam sessions with Ben 'Chicken shack' Gerrard (Catfish Voodoo, The Melbourne Jukes), light broke forth from Heaven itself and the boys were given a mission. A mission from God to bring the world back the thumping groove it lost so many years ago.

    White Lightning, raw, swampy blues grooves, straight from the Yarra Delta.

    Sean McConnell: Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica.

    Ben Gerrard: Drums.

  • Fri

    Ron S Peno & the Superstitions


    New band for Ron S Peno featuring Cam Butler, Mark Dawson, Andy Papadopoulos, Tim Deane
  • Sat

    Pink Tiles

    Like the Rolling Stones before them, The Pink Tiles are to the youth of Melbourne much more than a pop group. They are a way of life. 


    From the city penthouse to the furthest country province, young girls copy from fan magazines the bobbed hairstyle of bassist / singer Mara Williams. Desperate young men scour dank markets and internet chat rooms in hopes of finding the mocassined shoes favoured by guitar hero Paul Maybury. 


    At the Deed Poll office, lines circle for kilometres as teenaged Judy Blanks become “Judy de Blank” in hope of assimilating the mystic sensuality of guitarist / singer and organist sisters Victoria and Cozi de Fruita. 


    At personal appearances, the emergence of Jay Williams as drummer in nought but tight trousers and vest has driven entire forms of school girls to fainting and bleeding from the nose. 


    Suffice to say, since the paparazzi first snapped them entering the recording studio, this debut album from The Pink Tiles has had fans slavering in anticipation like Pavlov’s dogs. 


    With its arrival, said Pavlovian fans are sure to be satiated beyond their wildest fantasies. The all-Filipino, triangular mind meld of brother sister Mara/Jay, sister sister Victoria/Cosi and spirit sister sister Mara/Victoria is alchemically combined with the rugged Australian convict spirit of studio engineering warlock and guitarist Paul and the percussion whirlwind that is Leigh Barker. This combustion has resulted in the most spectacular bubble gum pop explosion to be heard since the days of Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp. 


    Despite brusquely abandoning the life of pure fandom 18 months ago for her new calling as a pop star, chief songwriter Mara Williams still pens songs relatable to the average teenageress. Witness the cascading melody of fan favourite “Ordinary Girl”, or “Stood Up”, on which it is revealed that even the glamorous Victoria de Fruita has suffered the indignity of being stood up in favour of a night spent bowling. On “Steph Brett Fanclub” we see that even super stars of The Pink Tiles magnitude have idols of their own. 


    A particularly poignant number is "Mourning", on which the band lament the loss of original guitarist Arnaud, who chose to return to his native Paris when the vagaries of fame became too much to bear

  • Sun

    Jo Mears Band


    Jo Meares

    The "...melancholia of wide open plains and corrugated iron, caressed by occasionally passing heavenly choirs of grievous angels and chain gangs"
    Clem Bastow's description of Jo's single of the week 'I Loved You More That Day' in Beat magazine in 2010.

    Jo's first solo album 'A Handful of Smoke' was awarded Australian Album of the year on the highly respected radio show Outpost on 2SER. 
    It was recorded over 2 years in France, Sydney and Melbourne involving members of Charles Jenkins and the Zhivagos, French pianist Lisa Barel and what were to become his band the Honeyriders...

    Jo Meares’ music is unique with a truly original sound. He is a wonderful singer-songwriter and incredible live performer.
    His 3 albums released to date (‘A Handful Of Smoke’, ‘One More Time’ and ‘King Of The Crystal Mountain’) are all classic Australian recordings.
    Part Neil Young, part Lou Reed, part Nick Cave – but with a uniquely Australian twang
    - Vinny Ramone, Outpost show 2SER

    In over 35 years in the music industry, 15 of them running the independent record label Laughing Outlaw, I’ve been lucky enough to have heard more music than most people.
    The only downside to that is that it takes a real lot to impress me.
    I’d been aware of Jo Meares but not listened to him until his ‘King Of The Crystal Mountain’ album was released.
    It’s an album I now consider one of the finest Australian singer songwriter albums of the past decade and in fact it would be better to say that it’s a world class album created by an Australian.
    I’ve subsequently heard all Jo’s previous albums and admire them too.
    Not only are the albums magnificent, he is a truly exceptional live performer who deserves to be much better known than he currently is. That will happen.
    I’m part of the Jo Meares fan club!

    - Stuart Coupe, writer, manager Laughing Outlaw records, DJ 2FBI and 2SER

    Jo's second solo album 'One More Time' was made with the Honeyriders and involves a sixteen piece string section, beautiful backing vocals and lush guitar sounds.

    All Jo's albums are available for digital download or a hard copy can be ordered through this website. Also limited vinyl pressings.
    Jo plays most years in France, Spain, Finland and Germany and is gradually building his following there.

    His June 2014 release of the album 'King of the Crystal Mountain' in Australia was followed by an extensive tour of Europe in 2015 involving France, Spain, Finland, and Germany.

    In Melbourne Jo plays with Dave Milne, Trent McKenzie and Shane Reilly, Art Starr and Cam Butler at various times...

  • Thu

    Van Walker & Andrew Bailey


  • Sat

    The Wellingtons


    The Wellingtons have been hunkered down for the past year producing album number five, ’End Of The Summer’ The album will be released in Spain, Japan and Australia, beginning in May. To initially launch the record they’ll be touring Spain and Italy, where the band is lauded for their pop song writing smarts and their layered arrangements. Before that however, they’ll be playing a warm up show at the in their hometown of Melbourne at the Labour in Vain, the first since their hibernation over 12 months ago. 

  • Sun

    James Thomson & the Strange Pilgrams


    When an artist appears on the scene with his own identifiable style and is comfortable and confident in his ability as a writer and performer you know he’s studied the greats and explored and absorbed the essential elements of their craft.

     Newcastle, NSW musician and songwriter James Thomson’s arrival in 2013 with his debut, self-titled album caught the ears of plenty of journalists and fans of his blues, folk and country stylings. You could heard the sum of his influences in the music; the ghosts of Robert Johnson, Jimmy Reed and Hank Williams - yet Thomson had filtered them into his own stories, relaxed singing style and accomplished guitar playing.

     Later in 2013, Thomson’s musical journey became a geographical one as he embarked on a three month songwriting and sightseeing trip through the US. The resulting songs formed his sophomore album Cold Moon (2015) which saw him expand his sound stylistically with a full band, a sharper pen and a direct line into tales of heartache and desire in their many forms. Thomson had achieved a resonant balance of melody, emotion and authenticity.

     Widespread critical acclaim greeted the release of Cold Moon and with his band The Strange Pilgrims, Thomson has been clocking up the miles along the eastern coastline of Australia playing the stages of many festivals, bars and pubs. The band have grown into the songs, invested them with a new energy and dug deep into the swing and groove at the heart of the music. The resulting ragged, freewheeling and soulful rock ’n’ roll vibe adds another layer for Thomson to work with; making the band’s forthcoming recordings an intriguing prospect.

     From singer/songwriter to band leader; Thomson has found the perfect fusion of his acoustic blues/folk origins and an electric sound that draws on the masters such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, JJ Cale, Taj Mahal and The Rolling Stones. That rich tapestry of sounds and influences will take shape on Thomson's forthcoming third album as he continues to evolve his songwriting through his musical and life experiences.

  • Sat

    Happy Lonesome



  • Sun

    Chris Pickering


    There’s a story that goes like this: in 2008 Chris Pickering decided to pack his bags and guitar, and relocate to one of the most competitive music cities in the world, Nashville Tennessee. It was during this time in Nashville that Chris met and agreed to work with legendary Stax Records producer, Don Nix. This collaboration resulted in the recording of his third album “Work of Fiction”. It was working and recording in Nashville that began to shape the future direction of his own unique songwriting style, a style that is to be found all through his latest releases, the EP Corners, and his latest single, Canyons (released July 2015).

    CHRIS PICKERING has made a name for himself in a short space of time. An accomplished drummer, finger picking guitarist, singer and also pretty handy on the harmonica, CHRIS PICKERING’s musical ability and song writing skills, as well as stage presence, all go to forming an exciting performance.

    (Faster Louder)

    Now Melbourne based, Chris Pickering is a singer/songwriter who is not a slave to any dominant trend or fashion, yet doesn’t shy away from comparisons to the great songwriters of the 20th century. His songs talk of relationships, philosophy and the occasional dark side of the human condition, albeit with an ever-surreptitious wink to his black sense of humour. Chris is most often compared with other genre defying singer-songwriters such as Rufus Wainwright, Wilco and Neil Finn.

    “It’s as though he’s discovered his own personal pop-genre hybrid that may incorporate melodic rock, psychedelic music, gospel soul, country, folk and blues”.

    Terry Roland, in Alt Country Music Blog ‘No Depression’ 

    Upon release of his Work Of Fiction record, the highly regarded Australian reviewer, Jeff Jenkins wrote in RhythmsMagazine - 


    (3.5/ 4 STARS)

    Big respect for Chris Pickering – his third album is wildly ambitious. Not content to make another album at home in Brisbane, he went to the source, recording at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee with Stax Records’ great Don Nix (who has produced John Mayall, Albert King and Charlie Musselwhite). ... But Pickering pulls it off, and that’s a fact. The result is a superb collection of soulful country-tinged pop. File next to Ron Sexsmith.

    While currently promoting and playing releases from his current EP ‘Corners’, Chris is in the final stages of completing his next album. The five years that Chris spent in Nashville will be seen as a pivotal point in his evolution as a songwriter, the results of which will be released soon. Whilst in Nashville he befriended and played alongside many of the finest up-and-coming crop of songwriters and performers in Nashville, including Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Kelsey Waldon, Caitlin Rose, Cale Tyson, Kelsey Waldon, and numerous others. The as yet untitled album is the result of recordings that have been made at Bomb Shelter in Nashville, and Hicksville Studios in Joshua Tree, CA. Accordingly, Chris engaged the services of producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes) and up-and-coming Australian producer and artist Adrian Mauro (Machine Age) to help administer the final touches to his latest work.

    In October 2014, Chris showcased some of this new material in a month long residency at Melbourne’s Yarra Hotel using a band featuring Mick Thomas from Weddings, Parties, Anything on bass guitar. This residency gave Melbourne audiences their first opportunity to experience the breadth and depth of his song writing talents with a full band. To cap that off, Chris also appeared at Queenscliff Music Festival in November 2014, performing with a full band to a strong reception.

    A new single, 'Canyons', was released in July 2015, which also happens to be the title track from the upcoming album. He has continued making regular appearances around Melbourne, both solo and with his new three-piece band, and in October 2015 he and the band performed to rave reviews at the inaugural Dashville Skyline Festival in the Hunter Valley, NSW, alongside other acts such as Bahamas, Wagons, Holy Holy, and more.

We ❤️‍ Live Music

As anyone who has ever visited the Labour In Vain knows, music is pretty much baked into every fibre of the joint.

Proud supporters of live and local music, we are members of Music Victoria and long-time sponsors of community radio stations RRR and pbsFM.

Almost all our gigs (excluding a couple of special events a year) are FREE ENTRY so you’ve got NO EXCUSE NOT TO  get out and be blown away by live local music.

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