VB and rock and roll tours; you couldn’t find a better combination if you tried… and now you don’t have to. This October, VB are backing live Aussie rock and helping to make the touring dreams of three hard working bands a reality with their epic band competition.
That’s it, VB Hard Yards is back again after last year’s inaugural run with bands like RACKETT, Shearin’ and Mini Skirt proved to be such a roaring success.
It’s not easy out there. No one works harder than musos, and VB respects that. Offering up the chance to experience what it’s like to be on a proper national tour, the competition was simple. Entrants – bands from New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria – had to tell VB all about the hard yards they’ve put into their music, and why they deserve to win. The touring lifestyle doesn’t come easy; when your band is your side hustle and every spare hour is spent jamming, writing, rehearsing, and navigating the shark pit of promo, marketing, booking, planning, a bit of help can never go astray.
Not surprisingly, there was a huge number of entries from all over Australia, with more than 600 hard-working bands each hoping to win a chance to go on tour with some big headliners. After narrowing the choices down to three bands from each of the three states, VB – with the help of the public – picked one band from NSW, QLD and VIC, all of whom will cram into the tour van and hit four different cities on an epic jaunt, opening for some massive Aussie artists.
After some serious competition, Queensland’s all girl punk rock powerhouse Being Jane Lane, New South Wales’ rockers Paper Thin and Victoria’s Claws & Organs all scored a spot in the tour van, becoming victors of the chance to play a series of free gigs with Alex Lahey in Melbourne, Tired Lion in Sydney, WAAX in Brisbane, and RAAVE TAPES in Newcastle this October.
“I first saw a few people putting up Facebook posts and posters around, but it kind of took me a while to cotton onto it before I thought maybe we should get involved,” laughs Dave Crowe, guitarist of deeply grungey and ferocious Melbourne trio Claws & Organs.
“We’ve done a couple of tours prior to this one; just your standard little East Coast fare. They haven’t been super great though,” he continues. “The first time going around I guess you kind of expect it to be a little light on; it’s your first time in these new places so you’re not going to necessarily have the same draw that you have in your own hometown, but it will be very exciting to be on this one because there’s some very, very big names on the tour!”
Along with the $5k in each of the bands hot little hands and a bunch of all-paid-for rehearsal time, it’s the insane exposure the bands will be get – from sharing stages with successful artists like Lahey and WAAX and playing live to their huge, heaving audiences and fans – that will give each of the bands the ultimate leg-up in their careers.
“It’s putting us in front of new people that may not have necessarily heard us first and foremost; so fans of the others winners and fans of the headline acts are all getting a chance to see us and hopefully liking what we do live,” Dave explains. “I’m pretty proud of our live show so hopefully that translates really well to these new audiences.
“I think we’re a live band first and foremost,” he continues, “everything that we’ve recorded I’ve been happy with, but it always sounds better live I think.”
Having spilled blood, sweat and tears on every stage in Melbourne over the last five years earning them a serious reputation for their fierce live performances, the post punk rockers have proved they aren’t afraid of a little hard work – especially in the face of adversity – making them worthy victors of the VB Hard Yards competition. After the band nearly fell apart, they held on, found a new member and became their strongest iteration yet.
“It’s definitely changed a little bit; I think our current lineup are all on the same wave length of what we want to be doing,” Dave explains of the music the band have been making since their drummer Miranda Holt joined the band. “We’ve all got the same sound in mind; I think that’s made the writing process a lot smoother. It’s definitely different; it started out as more of a garage-punk vibe, but now it’s a lot more angular and it’s got a few more weird ideas going in here and there.”
Drawing influence from bands like Joy Division and Cure, to bands like Sonic Youth and Pixies, Claws & Organs are a favourite amongst Melbourne’s most devoted live music fanatics already and with a new LP just around the corner, it’s perfect timing for the Melbourne trio who are ready to get up off the floor at Yah Yah’s and get out on a tour.
“We’re trying to play as many shows as we can; we’ve actually just finished recording an album so we’ve got a couple of songs on Spotify and iTunes now, and we’ll hopefully have another proper single out towards the end of year, fingers crossed,” Dave says. “We’re just trying to play as many shows as we can, but we’ll be playing it by ear. Hopefully the tour puts us in front of some people who might be keen on helping us out, but we’ll just see how it all goes.”
All that’s left to do now is grab down an ice cold VB and get down to one of these gigs!
When & Where: Northcote Social Club with Alex Lahey, Melbourne – October 3.
Register before Sunday, September 23 for your chance to be there via www.victoriabitter.com.au/hardyards
Written by Talia Rinaldo
Photo by Kane Hibberd