Usually my Sundays are recovery days, unless I’m on the grind at my day job, jealous and sometimes bitter that others have the day to frolic in the sun. But this Sunday I shared my recovery morning with the boys from a band called Southern End. A group of guys who stray away from the main stream and are campaigning to make Dad rock cool again. Spoiler alert, they are succeeding.
The gig schedule for Duncan, Andrew, Aidan and Patrick has been packed out as of late, with regular gigs at the Lass O’Gowrie and the Hamilton Station. “We have been playing a lot, particularly at the Lass and the Hamo. We played the Beaches on Friday night and the Hamo last night. You’ve gotta love those Saturday nights at the Hamo! Although Karaoke goes off as well. We have a mate who always gets up and sings ‘True Blue’”. But what would be their Karaoke pick? “I’m not a singer really but I only ever sing stuff by the ‘Doors’” answers Andrew. It seems the Dad rock ethos runs deep with this lot.
As a collective, the guys have just hit the two year mark. “…I think it’s two years…give or take anyway, we’ve really started to lose track of that”. And those humble beginnings? “We started through school, me (Patrick), Aidan and Duncan played together all through school but we needed a bass player. Andrew’s mum was our Principal and kind of offered him up to us in a way”. “I was definitely conned into it at first, I was told we were going to be playing Silverchair and stuff like that… we didn’t” Andrew laughs, “but it’s worked out so far and we’ve all stuck around”. “When Andrew first joined the band we kind of went back to that classic rock/Dad rock era like The Who, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, the Stones. You know, the Dad rock classics”.
In terms of their sound, the band as a whole, are still searching, and for once this is a really really good thing. “It’s a lot of trial and error for us, up until this year we still weren’t really even close to finding our sound. Even now I don’t think we are there yet. It really depends on what the flavour of the month is for us… I mean ‘Lost Girl’ was written when we were all deep in a massive Neil Young phase and right now we are listening to a lot of the Stones, which I’m sure will come through when we start playing new stuff”. Listening to their originals I completely agree. An early track, ‘Breathe’, invokes this imagery of mates kicking around and throwing some layered messy and unapologetic garage rock the listeners way which is a really stark contrast to their latest single “Lost Girl” which has this amazing bluesy spine running through it producing a really cruisey yet punchy alt-rock finished product. Talking sound with the guys is incredibly refreshing, to hear a band so totally committed to finding a sound so specifically theirs. A stark contrast from some up and coming bands, who may choose to rest heavily on specificity of genre and output. A completely authentic experience where, as the listener, you can really grow and change as the band does.
I asked the guys about the up and coming gig at the Cambridge on the 20th of this month and there was a definite stir at the table. “It’s ah… good for us to be back playing at the Cambo… See… the first time we played there, well the only other time we’ve played there, we were underage and kind of just… didn't really tell anyone. We got into a lot of trouble for that, but I think we just really wanted to play, there was nowhere for us to play to a crowd and start working on playing gigs. So it’s good to be back”. I can definitely resonate with the band on this front, as, apart from the up and coming underage venue ‘Drone’, there’s nowhere really for young musos to get their stage legs and translating the garage/bedroom sessions into a full band set definitely isn’t as straight forward as it sounds.
Thankfully, things will be by the book this time around, with Southern End’s return to the stage at the Cambo sure to be a triumphant one, when they share a backline with Joab Eastley and William John Jr. to which the band themselves are also clearly excited about commenting; “It’s really great that we get to play with someone that we look up to, especially William John Jr.” From a punters perspective, it’s really great to get behind this idea of a Thursday night spent with some really killer local bands. There is so much talent in this town and on any given night you can always catch some really talented kids doing some really talented things and now, with a killer Thursday night at the Cambridge on the cards, I couldn't be happier. Here’s to the four day weekend!
You can preview some tunes by Southern end here: https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/southern-end-0
And keep up to date with all of their giggos here: