MUSIC: Tourbuoys Benjalu

HOME: Benjalu are back in Newcastle, and you can win a double pass to their gig on Saturday.BENJALU is wandering Australia off the back of their European tour, and their second stop is Newcastle.
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Despite their five-piece composition, the band shrunk themselves to two for the trip. But they’re back together for the Aussie dates, and looking forward to getting back into it.

The band’s Ben ‘Gumby’ Gumbleton and Anthony Morris talked to LIVE about their travels.

Why set out as a two-piece for your European tour?

As an independent band, we back ourselves financially for everything. Recording, promotion and the often mountainous expenses of touring. We had initially spoken about the whole band going over for the European tour, but because we are a five-piece and with our first album in the works, financially it didn’t make sense … We decided that our first European tour was going to focus on building contacts and meeting new friends that may help us in building Europe’s awareness of Benjalu. So, to cut costs, only a couple of us went. The tour has really opened up a new avenue for the band … Most of the venues on the tour were small, intimate venues that suited the acoustic show perfectly.

What was the tour highlight?

Every night was a highlight. New places, new venues, new languages, new stories. The tour blew out to around 40 shows in 35 days, which was amazing. To be in a different country and hear the stories about how people had found our music and how they had made a huge road trip to see the show was pretty mindblowing. We also ended up in the studio with a well-known electronic artist recording songs between shows in Belgium. So many doors have been opened that weren’t planned. It’s all looking very positive for the future.

Favourite country where you performed and why?

That’s a tough one! I’d say probably Belgium. We have a friend that lives in Brussels … [who] organised four great shows, filled with new Benjalu fans that she had converted. Just goes to show the power of the people. So we thank Sylvie for what she has done and what she will do for us in Belgium for 2015.

What’s your earliest musical memory?

Music has always been a huge part of all our lives, even before any of us could play an instrument. We all grew up listening to our parents’ favourite records. When the band first started writing songs, it all came together from us sitting around, talking about the artists we liked. The Beatles, Paul Simon, The Doors, The Police, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles – pretty much all the classics!

First album you bought?

I paid for it, but I had to get my mum to physically buy it for me. It was The Offspring. The language was too ‘‘explicit’’ to be bought by a kid under 15. Good thing I had parents that looked at music beyond a couple of words.

Last album you bought?

The Arctic Monkeys. Great album and an amazing live band. We have tonnes of inspiration coming from them and their sound at the moment.

Most memorable gig you’ve played?

Most gigs are memorable to us, but I guess playing Byron Bay Blues Festival will always be a standout. It was pretty much like listening and hanging out with our album collection for five days. Another one … would be the first time we ever sold out a home show. It’s always a highlight to come home and play in Newcastle, to hang out and have a few beers with all our friends. We love our home and our town and it plays a huge part in our lives. This is where the band started and we love coming home and thanking everyone for their ongoing support.

Something my fans don’t know about me is … I love to cook! I find it therapeutic.

Benjalu will play on Saturday at Newcastle’s Cambridge Hotel. Tickets are $19.40 and available at tickets.oztix南京夜网.au. See Freebies on this page for your chance to win one of two double passes to the show.

SASKWATCH

FROM humble beginnings playing lacklustre house shows, Melbourne band Saskwatch has become a pretty big deal.

But despite being a nine-piece, they don’t butt heads over sound or direction.

Listing their influences as Sam Cooke, Arctic Monkeys, Aretha Franklin, Dr Dog and Nick Cave, the band is diverse in sound.

Saskwatch, who are part of the 2014 Splendour In The Grass line-up, will play The Small Ballroom in Newcastle tonight. Tickets can be bought on the venue’s website.

REMINISCENT of ’70s-era Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac with a splash of Springsteen and Tom Waits, Jim Gordon’s Travelling Companions have been playing around since the ’80s. With largely original material, the band – described as ‘‘a crackerjack live band by any measure’’ – is rhythmically persuasive and topically diverse.

Jim Gordon’s Travelling Companions play on Saturday at The Great Northern Hotel.

ESKIMO Joe’s lead singer Kav Temperley is sharing stories from their ARIA-winning album, A Song Is A City, on an intimate solo acoustic national tour.

Temperley says the album was a ‘‘turning point’’ and he is now ready to tell the stories behind the songs.

Temperley will play at Newcastle’s Lizottes on Thursday, July 24. Tickets are on sale now through kavtemperley南京夜网.au.

BALL Park Music has announced their Trippin’ The Light Fantastic tour. Band members will be appearing as three-dimensional images rather than actually being present at the shows.

‘‘This is just a crazy concept we have always wanted to turn into a reality,’’ said lead singer Sam Cromack.

The band will ‘‘appear’’ at Newcastle University’s Bar On The Hill on Thursday, September 25. Tickets are available at bigtix南京夜网.au.

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