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“Head on down to Bello’s Cosmic Avenue

By Ian Browne Shamrock News

The more I listen to Cosmic Avenue, the further I discover the depth to this band’s musical journey, and as you will discover, JuiceBox are very generous ‘live’ as well.

“That’s the way I like my earth” a lengthy piece, the first on the album spells-out how important respecting the planet is, followed by a groovy number that absolutely lifts the roof. “Funk is a medicine” is a celebration of music, and the will of the soul! It really goes down well live too of course. “Ba da deeta da de da”…some George Benson action arrives to songs like "By my side". Tom Touhes’ smooth sax rolls out throughout, commanding in “In my life”, while Retaw Boyce romances all with his violin “How much love”. The album’s title “Cosmic Avenue” begins with some very atmospheric guitar. Though Avi Ronan allows his six strings to ignite, it's not domineering, allowing for Enrico Malcisi’s keys boards to have their say in the language of bluesy funk - while Darren Lee moves it all along on drums.

Babylon…“this generation only knows the socialising corridors”

A more serious message nurtured by a variety of cultural layers, "Babylon" describes Western society’s willingness to ignore sustainability while beyond view, wars are willingly raged in the desert lands of the East; life struggles alone in Africa.

This album is fun, thoughtful & clever in its fusion of the best music has to offer.

LIVE in Bellingen!

I spoke with JuiceBox frontman & guitarist Avi Ronen, and he explained how he’d like to play up in Byron at the Rails Hotel, and other funky towns within the Northern Rivers. I suggested that this was a great idea, as people there just love this kind of groove. Alongside the Esplanade Hotel in St. Kilda and venues like The Lansdowne in Sydney, The Rails is one of Oz’s most vibrant gigs. That being said, I have stayed at the Federal Hotel Bellingen a few times, and Friday the 9th of April would definitely be a night to remember!

Fun-time moments of reggae-meets-James Brown, the JuiceBox ‘six- piece’ is a tight groove machine. They know what they are doing. From upbeat funky town, to smooth jazzy soul, the crowd responds with vigour. In particular on a fancy pants 5-string bass, Clare Rynart journeys through the frets with ease, the crowd showing her their appreciation. As someone who also loves to ‘funk out’ on bass, I was very impressed by the variety of bass lines within Clare’s repertoire. I was also taken by a number that sounded very much like Santana. I’m guessing it was “Babylon”, which does start out like Santana with a punchy guitar riff, and quaint Eastern viola. Another number sounded very African, and the crowd responded willingly to the change in pace. JuiceBox really do have something for everyone!


Due to the “no dancing” rule laid down since Covid arrived, this was finally the first gig in town where folk could let loose. Making up for lost time, it seemed like the whole town & surrounds rocked up to party. They were from all walks of life, all ages present. People really cut loose.

I really enjoyed the enthusiasm of local lady Tess, an attractive gal enjoying her early thirties. Seeing Tess’ interaction with others in the crowd, I kinda gathered she lived locally. But I asked Tess if she had seen the band play live before, and what she enjoyed most about JuiceBox:

“Yes, they are local. I love the funky vibe, the great energy, and groove to dance to. I love dancing like a passion, it’s the way to release a lot.”

Tess had an amazing amount of stamina - dancing alone & with friends - allowing a generous smile to grace those about her:

“I do a lot of yoga, movement and dance, as I want to dance for as long as possible. I want to be able to dance & feel young, so I keep my mind-n-body fit & able - and it feels good, feeling healthy.”

I guess FUNK really is a medicine! …


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