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Legendary underground institution, Checkerboard Lounge, deliver a dynamic, soulful well of emotion and playful abandon in collective improvisation over classic blues, soul and originals.

Singing drummer Carl Pannuzzo, guitar master Shannon Bourne, Hammond virtuoso Tim Neal and groove bassist Amos Sheehan curate shows fitting to events and venues, no two shows being the same, but each unforgettable live experiences, from standing ovations at Wangaratta Jazz Festival to crammed inner Melbourne pubs.

Worldclass Musicianship

With a history of having played with some of Australia’s best blues exponents such as Rev. Mick O’Connor, Ian Collard, Jeff Lang, Broderick Smith, Steve Teacle, Richard Tankard, Andrew Ogburn, Garrett Costigan, Nigel MacLean, Dave Boyle (USA), this current line-up is at its responsive best, boasting world class musicianship and raw unbridled passion inspired by the moment’s music to create seemingly rehearsed pieces out of nothing but great listening and reaction skills.

Collective Improvisation Over

Classic Blues and Soul


Ever since their famed 7 year residency at the Great Britain Hotel in the early 90s, where many budding young musicians would get up to cut their blues teeth with the uncompromising fire of this band’s energy, and a season which inspired the development of some of Australia’s finest musicians and bands (Powderfinger, Dirty Three, Clare Bowditch, Jet, Spoonful/Rocket Science, Kylie Auldist to name a few), Checkerboard’s point of difference had always been playing with different musicians and throwing them into an improvisational hot-seat, a tour-de-force that demands honesty, integrity and the truth of the musician.  Many have come away from a first time playing with the band saying things like “That was the most fun I’ve ever had playing live music” (guitarist, Co Tipping)

You could run a small city off these guys

Winners of the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society 2019 Blues Challenge, Legendary underground institution, Checkerboard Lounge, deliver a dynamic, soulful well of emotion and playful abandon in collective improvisation over classic blues, soul and originals.

A Dynamic Soulful Well Of

Reckless Abandon

Featured Video

Don’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing

From supporting the likes of Buddy Guy to standing ovations at Wangaratta Jazz Festival, this potent mix of master musicians led by singing drummer Carl Pannuzzo, guarantees the best in blues/soul improvisation. Shannon Bourne, Tim Neal and Amos Sheehan bring virtuosic listening response to create seemingly rehearsed music from nothing.

In performance, these guys listen hard and give %111 of the truth, creating seemingly rehearsed music from nothing.

Some real happening blues

– Bob Sedergreen

You got it boy, it’s you

– Jimmy Smith

Heart and Soul

Carl Pannuzzo, Amos Sheehan, Shannon Bourne and Tim Neal


Carl Pannuzzo has been creating inspired, reckless and beautiful music just about his entire life. With the innovative and extraordinary a cappella trio, Acapelicans, he has toured the world. As a singer-songwriter he has for years been a familiar presence at folk festivals around the country. But as drummer and vocalist for Checkerboard he lets his first love, soul and blues music, run free. With long-time sidekick and mental mastermind Amos Sheehan on bass, it’s a rhythm section-driven feel that brings a deep groove and joyous, raucous fire to the blues. Featuring the exceptional musicianship of Tim Neal and Shannon Bourne, their rapport and exchange is nothing short of inspired.

Tim Neal is a highly sought after Aria award winning multi-instrumentalist and Australia’s foremost exponent of the Hammond Organ. He has recorded, played or toured with Mavis Staples(U.S.A.), Ricky Lee Jones(U.S.A), Joss Stone(U.K), Archie Roach, Paul Kelly, Ernest Ranglin (Jamaica) Betty Harris (USA), Bunny Ruggs (Jamaica), Duke Robillard ( USA), Shane Howard, Stephen Cummings, Dave Graney Fiona Boyes, Jody Williams (USA), Gil Askey, Billy Boy Arnold(USA), Lucky Oceans (USA), Big Jay McNeely (USA), Randy Crawford (USA), Lucky Peterson (USA), Mickey Tucker (USA), Chris Wilson, Ross Wilson, Ross Hannaford, The Fabulous Thunderbirds (USA) James Taylor (UK) , Renee Geyer, Wendy Saddington, Jeff Lang, Jimmy Smith (USA), Geoff Achison, Guy Pearce, Cattletruck, Swinging Sidewalks, Paul Williamsons Hammond Combo (Aria Nomination), Festa, Banana Oil (Aria Award), Melbourne Improvisation Association, Kate Ceberano, Kerrie Simpson, Pearly Shells, Tim Neal’s Big Organ Band, Jim Kelly, Bobby Previte (USA) and Anne McCue.

A veteran of Melbourne’s music scene, Shannon Bourne’s career began as a sideman to blues legend, Chris Wilson. Since then he has collaborated with and accompanied some of Australia’s most highly acclaimed musicians, including John Shumann, Vikka Bull, The Black Sorrows, Tex Perkins’ Band of Gold, Matt Walker, Broderick Smith, Jimmy Dowling, Kerri Simpson, Monique Brumby, Thomas Hugh to name a few. Career highlights so far have also included supporting Richard Thompson with Chris Wilson in 2001, being invited to attend SXSW in Austin, Texas (2010), and appearing in the Helpmann Award-winning show, The Man in Black starring Tex Perkins. A lyricist and composer of note, Bourne worked as a studio musician and co-writer with Russell Morris on the ARIA Award winning blues trilogy; Shark Mouth, Van Diemen’s Land, and Red Dirt – Red Heart.

Crowds love this band. Try them once and you will want them back every year.

Nov 8/9 – Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival:
Fri 8: Gold Dust Lounge 11pm
Sat 9: All Seasons Hotel 9.30pm
Nov Sunday 10: Rainbow Hotel 4-6pm
Nov Sunday 17: Fundraiser for their travel to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee – Flemington Bowling Club 4-10pm; featuring Checkerboard Lounge, Kerry Simpson’s Opelousas, Jesse Valach and the Testaments, Aaron Pollack and more.
Dec. Sat 21: Pistol Pete’s Geelong 9pm-late
Dec Sunday 22: Union Hotel, Brunswick

Jan Sunday 5: Studio 54, Ocean Grove 3-6pm
Jan 28-Feb 1: International Blues Challenge, Memphis, Tennessee

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Checkerboard Lounge goes to Memphis!

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