September 1, 2015
Former NEONCITY bass guitarist Brock Shirley is set to headline on the Farm Gate sound stage at this year’s Henty Machinery Field Days.
Brock, of Wodonga, was the only regional entrant from 60 artists to make the top eight in the Final of Melbourne artist showdown in July, held at The Laundry Bar in Fitzroy.
He collaborated with former NEONCITY songwriter Simon McKenna to produce a debut four track EP in July.
May proved a milestone with Brock notching up 250 gigs around the Border, regional Victoria and NSW.
Brock will perform each day from noon to 1pm on the sound stage at the Farm Gate Produce Area, on the southern end of the field day site.
His passion for music got off to a rocky start at the age of 11 when guitar lessons during lunch times at primary school failed to ignite his interest.
By the age of 15, a dark blue bass guitar had proven to be the perfect instrument to encourage Brock back into music.
He honed his new skills in several bands performing in front of audiences over the next three years until he discovered a six string acoustic guitar.
There was a year of self-teaching followed by a performance at an open mic night competition when he landed his first real gig booking.
Brock then found his own niche with countless silo gigs around the Border region and a short tour of country Victoria in January 2010 for Wind Dancer Music.
He used music to generate an income during studies at Ballarat University for a Bachelor of Physical Education, playing with bands such as NEONCITY, Washington, Littleman, Star Assassin, Peaking Duck and Phooka.
ABC and Star FM Radio further widened the audience base with Brock making regular appearances live on air.
Early in 2013, Brock took up the bass guitar again in NEONCITY, headlining shows and also supporting bands such as Juke Kartel, Veludo, Cartel and Lydia.
NEONCITY placed second in the rock category in the 2013 Australian Independent Music Awards where the band closed the show to more than 4000 people.
The band was dissolved in early 2014 and Brock moved on to showcase his original songs across regional NSW and Victoria.
Growing up in Wodonga, Brock estimates he has never missed a Henty field days in the past 20 years.
“My mum worked on the Heritage Building Supplies site for many years so I went along, and before that we went as a family to check it out,’’ he said.
“I really loved the whole thing about Henty – some of my family were farmers so I have grown up with that nostalgia.
“It was always pretty amazing to see the size of a machinery as a kid.
“It’s not just all machinery, there are cool little knicks knacks to see and I like to do the field days in sections.’’