By Meghan Player
The Australian music scene is no stranger to festivals – ranging from the internationally recognised [Big Day Out, Splendour in the Grass, Soundwave], to the niche, underground and upcoming markets [Changing Lanes, Laneway, Dead of Winter]. Our scene has always prided itself with being able to cater to any taste, audience or age.
Whilst still an emerging trend in the local and national genres, the blues/rockabilly/western/swamp/shack/surf styles are proving their worth with bands such as the Snowdroppers, Kira Puru & The Bruise, Guthrie and Jackson Firebird all building a steady fan base across the country.
This surge in the local scene undoubtedly meant that a festival to cater for such an array of upcoming artists was always on the horizon. Thankfully, that’s where James Grim [frontman for Melbourne dirty blues quartet – The Brothers Grim & The Blue Murders] stepped in.
Backed by his and his bands extensive and extended family of fellow blues [and the like] bands – Grim has been able to pull together four different shows, in four different locations, featuring some of this country’s finest musicians.
Chatting on a crisp winters eve, Grim is understandably excited about what Drunken Moon has to offer. “If you tore up a 70s muscle car slasher film into a bunch of bands, these would be the ones you couldn’t look away from’, he explains. “[The] Festival is a celebration of all the bands that represent our growing hybridised blues scene. It’s a pure live spectacle and anyone who comes along will leave with a clear appreciation of what all these bands deliver. We’re all part of a community that is building in momentum and I really wanted showcase that community to different cities.”
That “community” has since been put on full display – with line up announcements for each city [Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Wollongong] offering a plethora of local talent for punters to bask in. However, Grim is quick to dismiss the idea that these bands are part of a “scene”.
“I would say that ‘scene’ is the wrong word,” he explains, “it’s more a movement of people who are anti-scene, anti-cool, anti-trend who draw from varied ol’ time musical roots and attempt to drive them into a modern context. What does a band like Midnight Woolf have to do with Frank Sultana? What does Kira Puru have to do with us [Brothers Grim & The Blue Murders]? Nothing. And everything.”
“We are the bastards of our parents music – weird hybrids of the old and new. We do this because we love it and we do it together because we recognise the similarities in our broad approach to music. The irony that we are now part of a growing scene isn’t lost on any of us.”
Undoubtedly, this idea translated into Grim’s band choices for each subsequent city – with the decision based on one clear ideal. “It was most important to me that I picked the bands that were exceptional performers,” he tells, “I could watch any one of these bands for hours. They are captivating, exciting and often more than a little dangerous.”
With the first part of the Festival set to kick off in Melbourne on 2nd September, and excitement building for each date to follow – it’s only rational to ask whether Drunken Moon will become a permanent fixture in the future.
“I certainly hope so, ” enthuses Grim. “There still plenty of bands I couldn’t fit into this years line-ups. Plus I’ve been getting a flood of offers to put it on in more cities. So you never know.”
One thing is certain, this is a festival that will produce something special in each town it visits – an idea that Grim sums up perfectly, “One hell of a night the punters won’t forget easily.”
You can catch Drunken Moon Festival on the following dates:
MELBOURNE Sunday 2ND September
Brothers Grim & the Blue Murders, Midnight Woolf, Kira Puru & the Bruise, Mother and Son, Frank Sultana & the Sinister Kids, Little Bastards, Gruntbucket, Papa Pilko & the Binrats
BRISBANE Sunday 29th September
Brothers Grim & the Blue Murders, Gay Paris, Jackson Firebird, Howlin’ Steam Train, The Ramshackle Army
WOLLONGONG Friday 12th October
Brothers Grim & the Blue Murders, Jackson Firebird, Mother and Son and Howlin’ Steam Train
SYDNEY Saturday 13th Oct
Brothers Grim & the Blue Murders, Gay Paris, Jackson Firebird, Mother and Son and Howlin’ Steam Train
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