Tour Diary: Spirit Bunny
Thursday April 20th
Finish work. Pack the car. Pack the car again, a different way. Take out speaker. Pack car again. It takes us near an hour to pack a car at the start of tour. Memories, locations, and rethink what you are bringing. We get it down to an art by the end of the tour.
The drive from Brisbane to Canberra (or Sydney) is exhausting, so whenever possible we like to split it up. Tonight we rest in sleepy Nambucca Heads. We each get our own room, a luxury not afforded us for the rest of the tour.
Friday April 21st
Today our record official is out digitally and in shops. You’d think for the automated, digital world we live in, this would be a breeze. But alas we spend the first hour on the road trying to tether internet to a laptop in order to make our album and streams go ‘live’. We end up pulling into a servo to utilise the wireless from McDonalds and make everything seem seamless.
We power through central coast NSW listening to podcasts on the gritty side of Australian colonial history and 90s post-rock, eventually rolling into Canberra just in time for an interview on local community station 2XX FM. Visiting community stations across Australia is always a highlight of touring. Cam hosts a show on 4ZZZ in Brisbane, and Kate has in the past, so it is nice to see how other stations operate. We have nice long chat with Rachel and Lucas and even cut into some of the next show’s (a Thai Cooking Class) time.
Leaving 2XX, we cut across town to Shoeb Ahmed’s studio, Brick Lane. Shoeb’s band, Agency, are playing with us this evening, and are just finishing off Day One of recording with Jonathon Boulet. Outside of Spirit Bunny, Kate and Joel play in a noise-jazz project called Feet Teeth that puts stuff out on Shoeb’s label, helloSquare. Agency asked Joel to play some trumpet parts on their record, which Joel attempts to the best of his ability. Of course, there’s the obligatory ‘get the very first note of the part wrong’ take. There’s also the ‘just make some skronking free-jazz noises’ take. Apparently Agency are pleased with the results, and we head over to the venue.
Tonight’s show is at a new space, Lobrow - skateboard shop and art gallery by day, bar and venue at night. Agency and new band, Different Types of Spiders, open. It typifies the diversity of bands we play with. A post-punk band and a chill indie-electro-pop trio. Our set is plagued by some technical difficulties (of our own making), but we power through with the help of an enthusiastic crowd. After the show we head to this food bus on the outskirts of the CBD with Shoeb and Jono, where we scoff down the best, most out-there food of the tour in an attempt to keep our drooping eyelids open for a few more hours: waffle cut chips drenched in satay; mozzorella balls on roti and kimchi, with more satay. The kind of buzz food you need before driving back to Sydney at 1am after a full day of driving and rock’n’roll adventures.
We roll into Cam’s Aunt’s house at 4:30am, bleary eyed.
Saturday April 22nd
It is Record Store Day, and the internet is abuzz with friends buying records and playing in-stores at favourite record stores like Tym’s (where we were invited to play today, but had to begrudgingly decline). We, however, are more hazy than buzzy given last night’s drive. Kate spends pretty much the entire day in bed, only waking briefly in the afternoon for a coffee and pastry before returning to slumber until when we have to head to the show. Cam and Joel drive around the northern suburbs getting baked treats and coffee to stave off tiredness while picking up some wire, soldering iron and glue to make repairs. Last night one of Kate’s Commodore 64s got temperamental, while Joel snapped a key right off my Casio SK5.
We find a music store that can sell us some audio cable to make the repairs, but only after they get us to describe our instrumental setup and then ask “But why use old, obsolete instruments? Don’t you know you can get laptops to do that stuff these days?”. While true, this would completely remove the nightly thrill of that moment before turning on a 30year old keyboard during soundcheck and praying that it will boot up for another night. Back on the deck of Cam’s Aunt’s house we get to work making the necessary repairs. By the time everything is working it is time for a nap before heading into tonights show.
The gig is at Tokyo Sing Song, a little club night underneath a bar at the end of Newtown. We’re the only band playing, so we have to drive around the inner west picking up borrowed amps and drums so that we can actually perform. Thanks to Julian and Chris for the gear! We usually play on ‘band’ lineups so it is something different being the only band of the night, playing between DJs. Also, our set is at midnight. We start to feel a little old. It’s a bit of weird show, with Cam playing out front in the crowd due to the lack of on-stage space. This time it’s Cam’s turn for some technical troubles, as the loop pedal he uses for this electronic drums starts to play up. It ends up being the worst show of the tour - you have to have one - but not a complete disaster. We finish up in the early hours of the morning, return all of our borrowed gear and again get home waaaay past our usual bedtimes.
Sunday April 23rd - Wednesday April 26th
Off Days. Cam flies home to help his wife look after their daughter. While loading the car, Kate gets a visit from a wild cockatoo! Flies down, has a nibble of the shoe laces, allows a few head pats and some photos before heading back to the skies. Nice.
Kate and Joel drive on to Melbourne where they go on day trips, get jeans altered, buy records, eat fancy croissants and fancy donuts, go to art galleries, knit, hang out with the host cat Bertie and generally be nice humans.
Thursday April 27th
Cam flies in from Brisbane in the morning, and we all meet up mid-afternoon for a live-set recording for 3CR, hooked up by Dik, whose record label Detonic helped us put out our LP. Again, we run around town borrowing gear to play on - thanks Guy! We play a short set and longish interview (both very enjoyable) for Let Your Freak Flag Fly. 3CR reminds of home, with a similar focus on radical politics and the local community as 4ZZZ.
Tonight’s gig at The Grace Darling is typical of the kind of mixed bills we often end up on. Moody synthers (I’m sure their genre description would have ‘-wave’ in its name) WARS, guitar-janglers Life Strike alongside electro-punkers Astral Skulls. The lush velvet curtain behind reminds of Twin Peak’s Red Room, though there is no backwards talking tonight.
Friday April 28th
Another day off! Originally we were going to play a house-show this night, before realising that we’d all got our wires crossed and had organised the wrong date! Welcome to world of Spirit Bunny. No matter, instead we had in to Northcote with our hosts and watch the Western Doggies get sadly beaten by the Giants. Cam, a big AFL fan, thoroughly enjoys yelling at the big screen along with a roomful of fans - it’s not something you get to do very often in Brisbane.
Saturday April 29th
We’re driving to Wollongong today. Bakery breakfast and takeaway coffee. Its our first time playing the ‘Gong so we aren’t sure what to expect, although Cam has played the venue before in one of his other bands. The show is at a really sweet, small bar called ‘RAD’. The band room has no stage, which makes for a really intense and intimate show. We play after some beautiful instrumental guitar (Outskert) and electro-post-rock (There Are No Exits). Of all the shows this is probably our funniest and best. The extra intimacy brings out some of Joel’s more awkward dance moves, flailing about amidst the small room, while the proximity makes it one of the most physically intense shows. Thankfully, the crowd join in with the dancing, some them matching Joel for awkwardness, others being much more self-assured. We are followed by The Nah, who rotating singers provide a mixtape-like set of solid songs. Best night of the tour.
Again, we leave the show and head back to Cam’s relatives’ place in Sydney. This time it’s not nearly as harrowing as the drive back from Canberra, as the show finishes at a more reasonable hour and Wollongong is not nearly as far from Sydney.
Sunday April 30th
Home time. The drive back to Brisbane is timed so that Cam can get to The Zoo where another of his bands, Tape/Off is supporting Screamfeeder at their album launch. Seems like a valid reason to wake up early, have another bakery breakfast and coffee. More podcasts on Australian pioneers.
Friday May 5th
Our last interstate launch is in Adelaide. Kate and Joel fly down stupidly early in the morning, while Cam has already been in town for a day, having a bit of a holiday with his family. We roll around to the gardens, art gallery and museum doing general tourist things. It’s a really relaxed show tonight, with the venue - The Metro - being a classic old pub that has accommodation for bands upstairs. No more lugging gear out at 2am, or trying to convince people to let you crash on their couches. Just walk up the stairs and collapse. Opening the night are Business Factory, a duo who on this evening have one sick bandmember. Never fear, she’ll just join in via conference call, espousing various business advice to those in attendance! If only all bands were so informative. We play in the middle, and are again buoyed by an enthusiastic crowd. Ponytail Kink finish things off with some jangly guitar pop/rock, interspersed with some of the best/worst jokes we’ve had the fortune/misfortune to hear. A solid end to the tour!
Spirit Bunny's self-titled album is out now. Grab a copy over here.