OCLife_Logo RED.png


Darren Smith - Life loves LIVE

Darren Smith - Life loves LIVE

Orange is fortunate to have a vibrant and growing local live music scene. So, in conjunction with JAM Orange, we thought we’d introduce you to some of our talented local musicians. Catch them at Jam Orange’s monthly Open Mic Nights, or at a venue near you!


When Darren Smith left Sydney’s Northern Beaches for a ‘tree change’ in Orange he never expected that the move would also reignite his love of performing live music.

And it all came about chance.

It was about three years ago. Darren (Daz) was at home playing his guitar in the living room when he was interrupted by a knock on the door.

“It was my neighbour,” said Daz. “He’d heard me, knocked on the door and said you should go play at the JAM Orange Open mic.”

Daz’s neighbour just happened to be Paul Kelly, president of JAM Orange and an active promoter of our live music scene.

Now Daz had played a fair bit of music in his time. He was in a number of bands during his time at high school in Ku-ring-gai and studied music for his HSC.

“I played trumpet for school and guitar and bass guitar; I was in a fair few bands — one called No Frils with one ‘L’ so we wouldn't get confused with the grocery chain…we played a lot around the North Shore all the school circuits and battle of the bands and those sorts of things and did pretty well, but by the end of high school we all went our separate ways and started doing stuff.”

Daz had put the guitar down for about ten years as family life and work got in the way of music. It was not until his 20-year high school re-union, when No Frils reformed for a one-off gig that he rediscovered music again.

“I reconnected with one of my best mates from high school, but I hadn’t seen him in 20 years... we got back together and started writing songs again and it was like we had never left high school, good fun!,” said Daz, who still found stepping out on the JAM Orange open mic stage for the first time a little nerve-wracking.

“I was very nervous! It was at the Vic Hotel and I remember one song I played was an original, but I can’t remember the others! Must have been covers in there, but I can’t remember,” he said.

Since that first time, Daz has become a regular at the open mics and has gone on to pick up paid gigs around the region.

“I do a lot at the Vic at Four on the Floor which are big supporters as well I've picked up gigs at the Union Bank when it was open and the Lord Anson, Percy's quite a few of them... and I released an album in October last year. I got put on the bill for Inland Sea of Sound down in Bathurst and I really wanted a disk or something to give to people… I only did a limited run and they've almost run out.

“It’s been an unbelievable response and I can't believe I've got an album out! I didn’t think people would be into live, original music, I though they just wanted to hear pub covers, but the original music scene here is massive and people are really valuing it. I can't believe the talent we're discovering coming through the open mic nights now.”

Empowering evening with parenting “guru” Maggie Dent

Empowering evening with parenting “guru” Maggie Dent

What’s on this Easter

What’s on this Easter