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On the road with The Basics

A little while back, we ran a week long diary from Australian pop band, The Grates. It was kinda to get a window into the world. Hell, voyeurism is the new black. So we asked Melbourne-based rock band, The Basics, to do the same thing as they bring their music to the deepest reaches of Australia’s Northern Territory. These are the words of bassist and vocalist, Kris Schroeder: ‘Friday November 7. Darwin. It’s a weird old joint this one — I can probably compare it closest to Queensland’s Cairns, with the backpacker industry making up the life and character of the Central Business District. This makes it particularly good for bands, as you’ve got a ready audience staying only metres away from the music venues. Today was our first Darwin gig (at Monsoons), and it was a ripper. I’d organised with my mate Nathan to bring up the Sunshine Reggae Band from Ikuntji in the Western Desert, and they were going to be the first Indigenous band to play in the main street of Darwin, which is apparently quite a cultural breakthrough. The best bit was how well received they were, someone saying “This is great, because it’s what you should expect to see in Darwin, not just bloody cover bands all the time.” Quite chuffed. By the time we played it was packed out, and everyone was loving it. Job done’.

Saturday November 8/strong>
‘A stinker of a day, humidity was the highest in the few days we’d been there, and it was killing me. I spent the whole day either in the hotel room or by the pool. I think the worst thing about humidity is the way it just makes you not want to eat, and when you don’t eat you get sick, and then getting sick you feel even worse, and don’t feel like eating and so on… Anyway, we did our gig at the Happy Yess, which is a little not-for-profit music club which hosts mostly acoustic gigs and is licensed for about 55 people. Another great show it was, squashing 120 into the room, oh and the air-con was broken. The audience took it like champs anyway, and the Sunshine Reggae band were again really well received in the first acoustic show. We were met with some sweet relief later, and a change came through with rain just as we were singing “Hey Rain”, funnily enough. Must be something in that. Anyway, another ripper of a night and it was a great send-off for the Sunshine Reggae boys who were heading back home early the next morning’.

Sunday November 9
‘An interview at ABC Darwin had been organised late last night after the Happy Yess gig, and I’d sent the details through to Tim’s phone because he was staying with Marieke while she was up visiting. Of course, Tim’s phone mysteriously ran out of juice at some point and he didn’t get said message, and Marieke wasn’t answering her phone, so no Tim at the ABC. Nonetheless, Wally and I put on a stirling performance of a new song we finished writing in the Western Desert called “Fear of Failure”. First public airing, and it went off pretty well I think. The rest of the day was filled with bumming around the pool again, and later going to see my cousin Casey and his wife Ketsia and their two little cute kids, and that was just great. They’ve got 20 acres outside of Darwin, and they’re living it up on their tropical villa – very jealous. Wally was on a boat I think, Tim was with me. Great thunderstorm later that night, too.’

Monday November 10
‘Blog, blog, blog. Hmmm, what to say about today? Well I suppose I could go on about the gig we did at Katherine High School, but you know, that was just the usual – a bit of “what will they think of us” apprehension, setting up in the gym while there’s basketballs flying all over the place, playing and impressing the kids cos we are pretty damn good at what we do, then some awkward time spent talking to the kids about who we are and what we do and what it’s like being in a band. But I don’t feel like talking about that, so I’ll just say that we spent the rest of the day driving and crashing out in Daly Waters, a pub famous for all the junk people leave behind – bras, knickers, tshirts, ID cards, thongs. Too many Jamesons for me, and a drunken phonecall to an Irish girl I love, and then it was time for bed.’

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