Live at Warrawee: The park concert brightening up Oakleigh

“People should be encouraged to feel free and not be afraid to dance and drink and enjoy a general upbeat party atmosphere.”

“Warrawee” is an Indigenous word meaning “stop here” – good advice for any muso passing by Warrawee Park in a few weeks. For the second year, Live at Warrawee will delight eyes, ears, and tastebuds with a free event featuring pop, rock and jazz acts from around Melbourne.
Hosted by Brian Nankervis, creator of the TV show RocKwiz, the event will feature acts including Mental as Anything, Dorsal Fins, the Scrims, and Jazz Party. Live at Warrawee’s lineup is a result of rigorous fine-tuning to make sure each act gels with the community.
“Live at Warrawee is in its second year of infancy – so a lot of community consultation and planning goes on in the community to ensure that it is the right fit for the right area,” the City of Monash Arts and Cultural Development Team says.
Loretta Miller was part of Live at Warrawee 2017, performing with the Mass Community Choir, and will feature this year with her band Jazz Party.
“People should be encouraged to feel free and not be afraid to dance and drink and enjoy a general upbeat party atmosphere,” Miller says. “Enjoy yourself, take advantage of the fact you live in a multicultural, musical city with so much to offer.”
Top billing goes to Mental As Anything, the band that defined Aussie new wave throughout the ‘80s.
“All of the bands have been chosen because they contribute to the overall program of the day. But the one that holds the most nostalgia for most people is Mental as Anything. Many of us would remember dancing around the lounge room to ‘Live It Up’ when Mental As Anything performed on Countdown,” the City of Monash Arts and Cultural Development Team says.
“Musically, their influence is far and wide and set in concrete in Australian musical history.  You’re bound to get one of their songs stuck in your head, in a good way.”  
Warrawee Park lies next to Eaton Mall, where concertgoers can grab a bite at a range of Greek mom-and-pop restaurants and bakeries. Food trucks at the event will include El Jefe, Crêpes for Change and C’est Chick. The Oakleigh-Carnegie RSL will also contribute to the event’s cultural diversity with St. Patrick’s Day green beer.
This year, Miller looks forward to taking to the stage at Warrawee Park this year with Jazz Party, a sprawling collective act that ties together polished, Ellington-esque swing with soul and sizzling Guajira jazz.
“The way the festival was handled last year was really perfect,” Miller says. “It was a really nice afternoon. The park is lovely, Oakleigh has heaps going on anyway with great food and vibes.”
Jazz Party are also promoting their debut album Monday Night, an eclectic record including motown, booming big band swing and rhythm and blues, as well as the Latin-flavoured track ‘Mountain Goat’, an interesting ode to Mountain Goat beer.
Miller says she was drawn to jazz by the competitive edge of jazz musos and by the vitality of the Melbourne scene, which has been the epicentre of Australian jazz for decades.
“I have always loved jazz and all the music that lives in the world,” Miller says. “I’ve always listened to it. I think what people don’t realise is that there are many different ways to play it. We don’t strictly do the kind of jazz people might think of when they hear the word. We do all kinds of stuff, but it’s all in the world. It’s all related.”

Live at Warrawee will take place at Warrawee Park in Oakleigh on Saturday March 17, featuring Jazz Party, Mental As Anything, Dorsal Fins, and more. Jazz Party’s album Monday Night is out now.