US rockers, Bonny Doon’s connection to Australia runs deeper than the band name

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US rockers, Bonny Doon’s connection to Australia runs deeper than the band name

Image Credit: Anna Friss
Words by Tammy Walters

US folk-rocker’s Bonny Doon are set to feel right at home in Australia, as they head to Anglesea this month to play a special show with The Sound Doctor.

“WE’RE GOING TO BONNIE DOON. WE’RE GOING TO BONNIE DOON” – the thick Australian-accented singalong pops into the mind immediately when this Detroit band name is mentioned. Whilst the name runs synonymous with iconic town and quotes of 1997’s film The Castle, Bonny Doon’s band title has a double-genesis. 

“The band name was inspired by the town of Bonny Doon in Northern California. And although it’s spelled differently, it is also a reference to the 1997 Australian film The Castle,” explains lead singer and guitarist Bobby Colombo.

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Outside of name, Bonny Doon shares a great deal of DNA with the Australian landscape; in particular the punk music landscape of the mid 2010’s.

“When we formed this band 10 years ago a lot of what we were influenced by was the 2010’s Australian punk scene; Dick Diver, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Scott and Charlene’s Wedding especially. Lately I’ve been loving all of the Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton stuff,” says Colombo. 

With a handful of Australian punk in their back pocket, and the other pocket filled with experience as the backing band for Waxahatchee, Bonny Doon were bound for excellence in music-making. Aired with natural laid-back sonic impressions, Bonny Doon has crafted a style that sounds simple but is a deeply intricate tapestry of graceful melodies and textured instrumentation. Taking from the soft rock stylings of the 1970’s, Bonny Doon has shaped their sound to be sophisticated but accessible. Look no further than their latest collection, last year’s hit album Let There Be Music, an album they will be showcasing on their journey down under.

Of their upcoming flight, Colombo cannot hide his excitement. 

“Playing for people on the other side of the world from us is a dream come true. If you would have told me when we started this band that we’d get the chance to go on tour in Australia I wouldn’t have believed you. Looking forward to a proper flattie as well,” he adds.

As with all Sound Doctor performances, who are known for bringing world-class performers to the intimate Anglesea Memorial Hall, Bonny Doon’s show is bound to impress the local live music loving community. Not just because Bonny Doon has a stellar set of songs, but because their live shows are packed with surprise and intrigue.

I try to lean into the vulnerability of performing our music in its most raw and natural form. I like when I go to a show and the band sounds totally different than what their record sounds like. I remember seeing the Goon Sax in Detroit in 2019 and I was blown away by how punk and raw they were live, I think about that one a lot. RIP Goon Sax,” explains Colombo.

Adding to the allure is the support act, one Jess Ribeiro. The Naarm/Melbourne-based folk chameleon has just returned from her recent UK/European tour with renewed energy for Australian audiences, so much so she just stamped out a new album Summer of Love. Ribeiro has been taking the album to regional audiences over the last month, continuing on through June. Featuring singles, the titular  ‘Summer of Love’, ‘Everything Is Now’, ‘Jump The Gun’ and focus track ‘Maybe If I Wore Sunglasses Inside I Won’t Feel Tired’, Ribeiro builds intimate walls through the highly-anticipated ten-track collection of songs and will elevate them at The Sound Doctor show. For the evening Ribeiro brings her unique band show for one night only to showcase the breadth of her well-honed craft, traversing songs of isolation, loss, love and healing. 

It’s this level of class, distinction and uniquity from performances that has built The Sound Doctor brand as one of offering an authentically awesome audience experience. The not-for-profit association is dedicated to promoting and encouraging engagement with the community and connection with people through music and arts. The Bonny Doon / Jess Ribeiro Surf Coast sandwich will be no different, as will their upcoming shows with Andy Golledge Band, New Zealand crooner, Marlon Williams, and Troy Cassar-Daley at the end of the year.

For now, locals will be blown away by the boys from Bonny Doon – the band that is. Tickets to the upcoming show are on sale now via Humanitix.