Punter Profile: Brian Newnham
When did you first start going to see local Perth bands?
First time was Dave Warners from the Suburbs in about 1988. Mid 80s was when I started getting into music to the point I was going to concerts. I’d seen INXS at The Floreat Hotel and then the next time at Subi Oval and then the next time they were headlining at Wembley Stadium.
Was a real thrill watching the progression from a pub band to the worlds biggest and decided that I would really love to get involved a bit more when I returned to Perth. I got really sucked into local music when I went to see TISM at Planet in about 94. They were supported but Cinema Prague and Circus Murders and both bands blew me away. I thought that if this was the level of our local bands, I had better start making an effort very glad I did.
Favourite local releases for 2008?
Abbe May and the Rockin Pneumonia’s ‘Howl and Groan’ is probably my favourite so far.
Are you involved in the music scene besides going to gigs?
I work for a local music based publication so if there are any bands out there who want to buy and ad, come see me.
Which venues do you like and why?
If they sell beer and you get to see some live music, I like it.
Who are your favourite local bands and why?
When I first started going on a regular basis, I was spoilt with most weekends being able to catch the likes of Spank, Circus Murders, Cinema Prague, Beaverloop etc… and that to me was the pinnacle. Sadly all those bands are now defunct and I really must let go of the past.
At the moment, its very hard to pinpoint any without adding on more but I’ll try – Abbe May and the Rockin’ Pneumonia, Bob Evans, Kill Devil Hills, Red Delicious, Mink Mussel Creek, Mile End, Jebediah, Eskimo Joe, John Butler Trio…I’ll just stop now. We’re very lucky to have so many great bands and it’s something that has been a constant for as long as I’ve known.
What is the best gig you’ve ever seen?
Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium was a special one for me. Not only was a tribute to the great man, but also seeing some of the biggest acts in the world in the one day at such a venue was something amazing.
Underworld at The White Sands in about 1988 was probably one of the best pub gigs I’ve been to here and locally, would be Hail Hail Hail at The Grosvenor (about 2000, I think). Wave Rock Weekender is something special and the best weekend away – music, good priced booze and the most relaxed atmosphere imaginable. Sadly (well also very happily), Grand Final commitment led me to miss out this year.
What do you drink at gigs?
I’ve become a crap drinker so a few beers at most would do me fine.
Are there any new local bands you have discovered lately?
No, because there are also other people watching them, so I can’t exactly claim to discover anyone. Having been lucky enough to see quite a few acts in this years Next Big Thing competition, a stand out for me was Tree. Her beautiful voice and ability to attract such strong attention with something so humble shows huge signs that she has something special.
Boys Boys Boys and their ability to project so much fun is fantastic. Great to see a band making their live performance more than just playing their songs and involving the audience to the point where all watching have big smiles on their faces.
Also why Project Mayhem were well deserved winners – they don’t just rely on good music – it’s the live show as well that makes them above so many other bands out there.
Why support local original music? Why not cover bands?
Do what you want. I believe one of the biggest poisons in the music scenes is this ridiculous local vs cover bands bullshit. Shouldn’t be compared. It’s like being anti-Vietnamese food because you like Italian. Some people just don’t like to try something new and if you try to drag them along to a great new local original band, they’re likely to not appreciate it. We don’t want those type coming to our gigs anyway and they’re better off going to see bands with no originality they can get pissed and pull chicks with. That’s not looking down on those who attend cover-bands, its some people like different things to others.
So, support local music because you like the bands or you like the people or whatever other reason you want to support it. But just don’t make that a reason to be some sort of musical snob that makes you better because you support local music. Most people I know with that attitude talk all the way through bands they claim to like anyway.
We all like to be part of a scene for whatever reason that makes us comfortable. As long as it makes you feel good, that’s all that matters.