Set List Anything But Static

Author: David Williams & Chris Rattray

Back on the festival circuit to support their new album, one of Australia’s mightiest punky-rocky acts is about to unleash a whole bucket-loud of White Noise. But they paid their dues doing the pubs and whatnot. “Yeeaaahh,” drawls drummer, Andy Strachan. “I guess the last tour we did was a pub sort of tour – the welcome back kinda one, after recording the record. But yeah, we do a bit of that sort of stuff. We do a lot of regional touring on each album, so that certainly gets us back into the pubs, or the R.S.L.s, or whatever you wanna call them. They’re always fun.”

They’re playing a couple of festivals coming up, the Pyramid Festival, and also MS Fest down here in Tassie. “We’ve done Pyramid once before. It was a few years ago now, but it was good! Yeah, we’re looking forward to it. It’s a good night to play. I don’t think we’re [on] New Year’s Eve – we’re the night before or something. Everyone’s fairly happy to be there. From memory it was a great time last time, so we’re just hoping for more of the same.”

We think they might have played MS Fest before as well. “We might have, I don’t remember.” We suggest that the festivals must blur. “Kind of. There are certain things that stick in your memory, but it might not be the name, necessarily. But yeah, we’re lucky enough to do a lot of festivals. Occasionally they do get a bit blurry.”

We liken it to a scene in Walk the Line, where Johnny Cash and June Carter are driving through the night from one destination to the next, not knowing where they’re going or where they’ve come from. “Yeah, it can [get like that], especially in America just ‘cos there’s so many places and there’s so much driving to be done between one gig to the next. It does get a little bit confusing. The last time we did the Warped Tour over there, kind of like a festival, or a circus that just keeps going – you’re in Pittsburgh one day, New York the next, and all these places in between that you’ve never heard of. It can be like that This is Spinal Tap moment of going on stage and saying the wrong city name, y’know? ‘Good evening, Denver!’ – when you’re actually in Florida or something.”

They must have had some big embarrassing moments. “Occasionally, before we get on-stage, we’ll be standing off-stage getting ready to go on and Chris will say ‘Where the f*ck are we?’ and I’ll be like ‘I don’t know!’ and we’ll have to ask our tour manager. It doesget a little bit like that. I suppose, back in the day, with Johnny Cash and bands like that, all they did was travel, so I guess, once you’ve been on the road for more than a few weeks, it does sorta get a bit blurry as to where the hell you are.”

The two gigs between the Pyramid Festival and MS Fest are less than three weeks apart, so will their setlist be identical? “Not necessarily identical. The core of the set will remain the same throughout the festival I think, just because we want to give everyone a taste of most of the albums, at least. There’s certain songs, we feel, that we have to play at festivals. The ones that get the biggest crowd reaction, obviously. It’s good for us, too. We like playing those sorts of songs. We’re gonna try and play a great deal of the new album, because we’re so stoked on it, and it’s what we’re feeling the most passionate about playing at the moment, so there’ll be a fair chunk of new stuff.”

Which songs get the most reaction? “At the moment, White Noise gets a huge reaction. Everyone sings along. Then there’s the obvious choices – do you play Prisoner of Society or Second Solution, or both, or do we rotate them on certain shows? I think people kind of semi-expect to hear at least one of those songs from the first record, and we have to keep that in mind. It’s not a chore to play. We still absolutely get off on playing them, so it’s not a bad problem to have really, when you’ve got songs to choose from!”