Come Together is coming back with a hefty rock lineup this June, boasting sets from established Australian rock heavyweights Spiderbait, The Superjesus, Mammal, Osaka Punch and up-and-coming female punk-pop outfit RACKETT.
This return of the festival is being dubbed Come Together – Recharged 2018 and is a return to form of their original rock roots from their inception in the mid 2000s. As such it’s only fitting that they’d be headlined by a band who came to define that slot of Australian music history with their ARIA award winning (Best Rock Album) smash, Tonight Alright which featured their explosive hit single Black Betty.
I spoke with Kram, AKA Mark Anthony Maher, the singer/drummer of Spiderbait and the first thing I had to know was whether or not this festival appearance – along with other recent shows – was an indication that we might be getting new music from Spiderbait.
“Yes actually, it’s something we’re keen about. We’ve loved doing shows recently and have been getting some great reactions from crowds which has definitely encouraged us to write more music,” said Maher.
Spiderbait haven’t released new music since their self-titled album in 2013 – not including their B-sides album in 2017. I was wondering whether or not they’d be taking any steps to modernise their sound in line with contemporary Australian heavy hitters like Tame Impala or King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.
Maher chuckled, “It’s funny you mention that because I actually love what Tame Impala and King Gizzard are doing. But unfortunately, apart from them there’s not enough Aussie bands making music that’s just pure rock‘n’roll. A lot of the Australian bands that are popular today – at least those that I’m aware of – aren’t really making rock. It’s branded as rock but what they’re actually making is much more poppy. So I don’t think we’ll be changing our sound much but we’ll see how it goes when we get to the studio.”
One of the reasons I jumped at the chance to chat with Maher was because I’m old enough to have been gifted a Sony CD Walkman for the Christmas of 2005 and yet young enough that I only ever got 2 CDs before realising it was easier to get my music off a USB from ‘that’ kid in school. One of the CDs I did legally purchase however was Spiderbait’s Greatest Hits album. This got me wondering what Maher’s perspective would be, since for me personally Spiderbait were the turning point from CD to mp3.
“Yeah I mean it’s a shame that bands today can’t rely as much on album sales and the like. But one thing I’ve really come to appreciate is the resurgence of vinyl. It’s a lovely thing that once again people can appreciate vinyl records as complete bodies of work from artists. I’m sitting here with a King Gizzard vinyl and it’s sitting amongst my records that are decades old.”
“I think the resurgence of vinyl is a reaction though. We’ve seen the popsphere lean heavily on created stars that are essentially just vocalists with a team behind them – from shows like The Voice and American Idol – and although they’ve gone down the path of streaming and stadiums it’s actually opened up a niche that’s rejecting all that, a new wave of fans who appreciate great instrumentation and songwriting which is why I think Kevin Parker and King Gizzard have had so much success. Because they’re taking an old school DIY approach to the music industry.”
Maher recalled his experience touring the King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard warehouse in Brunswick, Melbourne and marvelled at their ability to write, record, press, print and distribute all of their content, a solution to the contemporary issues for artists making money and having ownership over their own content. “At the end of the day, it’s a more authentic experience for the fan and it gives me a lot of hope for the future of music.”
Come Together – Recharged 2018 is offering a balanced rock-heavy lineup that features some of the best acts from the ’90s, 2000s and now. The festival is ensuring that there’s a lot of fun to be had no matter what decade you were born in. Plus, ticket prices include unlimited free rides at Luna Park between 3PM and 5.30PM at the Sydney show and include transport costs for the Gold Coast show. So if you love rides and are from Sydney, or if you live a large distance away from NightQuarter, you’re pretty much making money!
10 May, Come Together – Recharged 2018, Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney
29 June, Kingscliff Beach Hotel, Sydney
20 June, Come Together – Recharged 2018, NightQuarter, Gold Coast