Bondi Cigars still smokin’ up the stage
WHEN the Bondi Cigars were first gigging around Sydney in 1989 they moved in a blues/R&B circuit which, while robust enough since the 60s, had then been sparked into new life by the 'blues revival' of the mid-80's, spearheaded by Robert Cray, Joe Louis Walker, Stevie Ray Vaughan and similar crusaders. And while many of the Sydney bands from that era have vanished, become historical footnotes or undergone major changes, the Cigars have battled on like true survivors, without ever compromising their distinctive no nonsense style, to become a leading force in Australian R&B.
That original Cigars line-up brought together four like-minded experienced players, all veterans of Sydney inner-west blues venues, and from the word go, as the 1990 tracks demonstrate, the Cigars have been the very model of the 'no passengers' band, a well-oiled machine plus soul.
Always one of the country's hardest working outfits (on the road more than off), the Cigars have kept their music tight, hard-driving and down-to-earth: the Australian bar band par excellence.
Apart from the timeless, unpretentious nature of the music, an obvious reason for the longevity of the Cigars must be the ongoing musical team work of two foundation members, Shane Pacey and Al Britton, who continue to co-lead the band. This also explains the consistency of the band's sound, instantly recognisable for 17 years now, despite personnel changes and occasional stylistic variations.
The Cigars have consistently delivered the goods and, as with all great bands, the sum of the whole exceeds the sum of the parts and the Bondi Cigars are no exception.
Catch the legendary Bondi Cigars at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club on Friday, April 15.