Words by Tracey Moyle.
Last night, much loved Ric’s Bar entertainment booker Chad St James celebrated his birthday in the best way possible with Ric’s Backyard Series #7 throwing on a Sunday session like only Brisbane can. An early thunderstorm was no enemy to us music loving locals. The four Brissy bands on last night were an excellent showcase for the talent we have performing in out pubs, clubs and local venues every week.
The brilliant Mister Sister were early starters. I saw these guys at Tomcat on Friday night and their energy was just as keyed up as ever. The gorgeous Paige Hopper once again wowed the lively few, dancing about and had the rest of the casual Sunday crowd paying close attention. This band have a great grasp of their blended musical style with a funky heavy rock sound evident in songs like Run and Nobody with the transition flowing well between the laid back bluesy number Everytime, which musically had me thinking of Living Colour, to the upbeat rock statement of He Said. Their constantly shifting sound keeps your attention the whole time and Hopper’s vocal range sets them up for a plethora of options with their song choices going forward. They have a great chemistry on stage and bass guitarist Billy Boyle set the lively mood playing it up to the fans dancing in front. The band just looked like they are having fun, which echoed across the venue and soaked into the spirit of all watching. Definitely a band to catch if you haven’t seen them already.
L.A. Moon were next up. These young local guys kept the Sunday session mood high with frontman, Liam Adler’s soulful vocals keeping everyone engaged. Although their sound took it a notch down from the opening act, their chilled Indie pop vibes were a good shift for the next half hour. Opening up with the cool soulful sound of #4 For You, and Baby you’re the Best, guitarist Matt Richards smooth crisp playing style and Bede Prince’s funky bass lines were a great combination for this Indie pop outfit. Next up, more cool funk driven bass in a cover of Tom Misch & De La Soul’s It Runs Through Me, had the place moving along to the beat. Their blend of music produced a set of songs ranging from chilled, Indi pop feels, upbeat funk to a more soulful sound coming through on several tracks. Dangerous Woman and My Daisy had a laid back Sunday atmosphere and drummer Tennyson Fowler kept the pace with Why Do I Keep Falling In Love and their cover of Am I Wrong. They finished the set off with with Indie pop mood with songs Bonnie Nuit, Last Night and a cover of MGMT’s Electric Feel. The overall impression is that these young guys have found their niche in their chilled but funk driven vibe. I found myself thinking that they would make a great opener for the brilliant pop rock masters Thirsty Merc.
Third act of the night had an obvious following with the crowd suddenly multiplying (they were the reason I was there as well) and, without implying there was a favourite, Chad and his band of merry friends didn’t leave the dance floor once Bard of Brunswick started their set. Launching their new single, Stars, tonight was definitely a highlight for singer Brendan Caldwell and his band formerly known as Brendan the Bard.
Whilst Caldwell’s acoustic guitar playing is, in his own words, occasionally ‘simplistic’, it is simply mesmerizing, and combined with his authentic Australian vocal style brings to life his lyrical story telling claiming the crowds attention. With Callum Craig on keyboard, Conor O’Brien on Drums and Tom Davies on Bass, Bard of Bruswick have a musical presence that captures your attention immediately. Opening with Songs and Seeds, the pace was set in a way an Irish jig would prompt you to dance. S.S. Swan, an established crowd favourite, was next. With an essence of Tim Freedman in his presentation Caldwell had everyone encapsulated. A cover of Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant followed and then melancholy track, The People from his 2018 album release ‘Bootleg’.
Finally, the eagerly awaited new single Stars was next. The name perfectly captures the song with an almost celestial sound in the beginning having a ethereal acoustic feel which slowly builds up to a hypnotic beat. A positive tale reminding us that although we are at times, “climbing stairs in the dark”, to not forget “the stars, light your path”. A message to ‘get up and keep going’ rings through from the gentle musical push of encouragement at the start to the urgent crescendo at the end pushing the message home. A beautiful song perfectly illustrating the evolving musical talent before us. The set continued with a brilliant cover of The Pixies’ Where Is My Mind and the popular pub rock sing- a-long favourite She’ll Be Right. With almost everyone participating you could see the fans of Bard of Brunswick had certainly gathered tonight. Finishing off the set with two more new tracks Smokin’ Gun and Good Kid Bad Kid, I’d say the Stars single launch was an undeniable success.
Taking us out for the night, we were treated to more incredible local talent with The Bonnie Doons. Opening with their song Bleed, if you don’t instinctively think of Weezer, then you’ve never heard them. Once the song opened up I found a very cool Santana feel to it. Face to Face was next, a chilled almost reggae feel with some funky guitar by Kane Kennedy. More reggae vibes with Rainman followed by Swing and vocalist Torian Brewer delivering another blend of cool reggae vibes with an upbeat almost Ocean Alley feel. A smooth and mesmerising cover of Gooey by Glass Animals next, showing off Brewer’s vocal versatility. A brilliant groove track, Blue and Yellow next with a cool bass line provided by Dalton Cox. New songs, the rock driven I Want to Know showing off drummer Stefan Szymankiewicz’s skills and Supertool, followed and kept the momentum going with the funky sounds these guys are obviously mastering. Ending the set with a cover of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Suck My Kiss The Bonnie Doons closed off Ric’s backyard Series #7 with a bang.
Another night out in Brisbane and again I’m heading home wanting to shout it out from the rooftops (or on social media) that we have some amazing talent in this city, young artists with so much musical skill and enthusiasm. We just need to get the word out there and convince people to get up off their comfy sofa’s and find the live music that resonates with them. Not only will it ensure these artists continue on following their passion and providing the world with brilliant songs but will give everyone a renewed sense of belonging to something special. Music is a magical element that draws people together from all corners of life and lifts our spirits in a way that is so very welcomed, and needed, in our overwhelming world.