Is there anything as quintessentially Melbourne as Cherry Bar? Situated in ACDC Lane, a laneway off a laneway, everything from its grungy interior to its notice at the door proclaiming, “No suits. No sporting apparel”, just screams Melbourne. Cherry Bar is pure Melbourne and pure rock. Everything about it grabs you by the throat and blasts rock music straight into your ears. And the best part about it? It’s usually free entry. Cherry Bar hosts free live music so often that it feels like a betrayal when you show up and find there’s a cover charge.

Cherry Bar is exactly the type of venue where you would expect to hear a band called Diva Demolition, and certainly the band looks the part. Diva Demolition are carefully crafted to let you know they’re a rock band before they even hit the stage. They look like an angry female-centric rock band (my absolute favourite kind), so it surprised me that they frequently play Mt Isa, because I have some pretty strong ideas, that are in no way based on ever having been there, of what Mt Isa is like and the kind of people that frequent the pubs up that way. Hint: not the kind of people that favour angry female-centric rock bands.

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Once they hit the stage though, things became a little clearer. Diva Demolition are pure Aussie Rock.   A little bland for my taste (Aussie Rock not really being my thing), it was clear why Mt Isa has embraced them, and why the rest of Australia could very easily do the same. With the sparse crowd and playing a free gig on a Sunday night, you could be forgiven for expecting a band that’s decent, but not quite ‘there’ yet. Diva Demolition, by contrast, are polished and professional, sounding more like a band that should be playing Festival Hall, or at the very least, The Corner Hotel.

Kylie Cowling has a great voice, and easily holds her own onstage, but it’s impossible not to look at Sherree Newton. The woman fairly oozes charisma. She is a showwoman (totally not a word, but absolutely should be) who looks like she was born to be onstage. She is over-the-top and completely entertaining without being even the slightest bit unnatural. The two women are the core of the band, with two men (or ‘toy boys’, as Sherree and Kylie call them) fading into the background, seemlessly filling out the band’s sound without really drawing attention to themselves.

Their new single, Rock the Zombie, is out now and you can find their full length album on iTunes and Spotify, or actual real-life retailers if you prefer actual CDs.

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words: Claire Watt
photos: Mandy Campbell