Winter Live: Unplugged Showcase - Rum Jungle / by Hannah Stretton

📸 Photography by  Matthew Waddingham

📸 Photography by Matthew Waddingham

What started out as just three lads jamming out on their balcony, an idea and a love of reggae rockhas now led to the formation of the band we know as Rum Jungle. This reggae rock group will be bringing their stripped back set to Winter Live: Unplugged this Saturday & showing Newy what it really means to have a good time. 🤘🏻😎

The band consists of Benny, Josh, Michael & Frazer, who plan on bringing their love and appreciation for the rock 'n' roll of the past, as well as a little reggae for good measure to the Newcastle music scene. Despite only forming in the latter part of 2017, these guys are already quickly making a steady breakthrough and proving that a small idea can indeed become the big picture. 

Whilst a love of reggae & rock is one thing, the lads attribute a lot of their success & formation to music veteran, Professor & legend, Phil McIntyre, who just so happens to be Benny of Rum Jungle's dad (and was once my Professor - yes, I did attend all your lectures 😅).

McIntyre quickly saw a lot of potential in this group and urged these guys to get cracking & enter something into the Tip Jar Song Competition in 2017. This saw the boys work alongside Phil McIntyre & other seasoned music professionals, such as Mark Tinson and Don Bartleyto create their five-track EP, Crazy Days - which I guess quite literally sums up how that experience probably felt during their 12-hour lockdown recording session at the Impromptu recording studio. 

Once entered into the Tip Jar Song CompetitionRum Jungle ended up going all the way to the finals with their track, 'Stranded', which earned these guys a lot of respect among fellow musicians and music lovers. Even though Rum Jungle didn't take out the top prize, the boys haven't let that defeat them and have gone on to play at multiple venues across Newcastle, including Newy's music mecca - The Cambridge Hotel, as well as other well known names across this great city. 

Plenty of new schtuff in the works lads, stay tuned for more Jungle goodness 🥃🌿

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Continuing on from their successes of late last year, Rum Jungle re-released 'Should I Be' from their EP as a little taste taster of what they’ve got cooking up for their sophomore EP. I imagine that they are probably taking a bit more time to put this EP together, but I guarantee it will be worth the wait. 

Ahead of their performance, the Rum Jungle lads and I had a little chat about what their live sets are like, their hopes for Newy's music scene and what they consider 'hot' in town. The full interview can be found below...


Rum Jungle

How would you describe your music? Try 5 words or less, if you’re feeling creative.

Rock with a tinge of reggae.

What can people expect from your performance at Winter Live: Unplugged? 


Stripped back versions of a lot of our originals and a couple covers from bands that have influenced us or we just like.

As a musician/artist in Newcastle, what changes would you like to see occur in Newcastle? Do you think changes need to be made to Newy’s current music scene?

We'd love to see a bunch more venues open up that can accomodate for bands from all ranges of popularity and a solid all-ages place would be great for the kids that are into local Newcastle music.

Do you have any favourite local acts - if so, who & why? 

We love all the local Newy acts, everyone we've met and played with are awesome people and make great music and what's great is that there's a bunch of different genres going around so there's always something good on.

If you were to suggest a shop, a foodie hot spot and a must-see location to someone in Newcastle - what would they be?

Personally love going for a browse at the Hamo Pawn shop, it's got some sweet guitars and second hand gear. A good foodie spot would have to be Cappadocia on Beaumont Street, always sorts you out, and a must see location is Darby Street especially when Winter Live is on. (Good answer 😉)

When and where can we catch you for Winter Live: Unplugged? 

We playing 3:15 PM at Cream, will be a nice chill acoustic sesh, hope to see you there.


There you have it! To check out more about Rum Jungle, you can find gig updates, new music and other goodies via their social links below. I also recommend you check Rum Jungle's set out at Winter Live: Unplugged on the 23rd of June! 

Facebook // Instagram: @rumjungleband // Twitter: @rumjungleband // Triple J Unearthed