This Saturday local legends The Lockhearts will be throwing one soiree to remember with their Old Mate’s Block Party. Jameel Majam from the band sat down with us to discuss the local scene and their big party.
HAPPY: You guys are obviously huge live music fans. Can you tell us about the first gig you saw in Sydney?
JAMEEL: The first local gig I remember seeing is Shoreshocked. It was an all ages music festival put on by the council. 15 year old little nugget me got on a bus with a bunch of friends armed with some UDL’s and a sandwich my mum made me.
We saw the Hell City Glamours, Grand Fatal and Shihad that day as well as a few my mind can no longer name. I traded my Led Zeppelin shirt to a girl that day who promised to show me her boobs. She ran off with my shirt and didn’t fulfill her end of the bargain. I was left feeling very cold and didn’t talk to another girl until I was 17.
HAPPY: Is there a favourite place you have to see gigs at in the city?
JAMEEL: Well I try my hardest to at least see three bands a week. I have favourite venues for all different reasons I guess. To keep it local I love The Union; I love Frankie’s because you never have a bad night; Brighton Up Bar because they are a real champion for live music and of course The Factory Floor.
HAPPY: What about bands? Which acts would you say are killing it locally?
JAMEEL: Old Mate’s Block Party is a bill of bands we hand picked that we love to go see. It’s not genre specific it’s just bands we froth and really wanted to play with and watch. We wear our tastes on our sleeve in this line-up. Outside of that I really like The Delta Riggs – it’s been awesome to see their progression going from opening support at the Annandale to selling out The Metro. More locally I can’t go past The Bitter Sweethearts; True Vibenation; Blackbird; Front End Loader; Maux Faux; The Lazy’s and a bunch more. I could keep going for days. I truly believe this city is full of talent.
HAPPY: What do you make of the changes the live scene has gone through in the last few years?
JAMEEL: Well aside from the horrible laws, closure of venues and the fact I can’t buy a kebab when I want I’d say the talent side is certainly there. So many of my friends bands are my favourite bands. Also I try not to focus on the negatives, we could sit and talk about them all day but that’s not changing anything. I prefer that we just get out there and make some noise and show people that there are still gigs and they are radical to the max.
HAPPY: What was the moment you realised you wanted to put on an event to showcase the best Sydney has to offer?
JAMEEL: This one is simple. In 2013 The Annandale Hotel announced it was closing down and we were a signed band in a record label office. I said “Sooner or later we’ll have to do a Radio Birdman type thing and start our own Oxford Funhouse.” A label person laughed at me and said “Don’t try to make too much noise or you’ll upset someone and go nowhere”. We were independent a few months after and started putting on our own house party festivals. If we’re upsetting anyone I really don’t care.
HAPPY: The event is called a Block Party, so what should punters expect?
JAMEEL: A day of 12 awesome bands, Coopers Pale Ale, Zooper Doopers, laughter and potential nudity with a side of fries.
HAPPY: What do you hope to achieve with the block party?
JAMEEL: I want people to walk away and know that we still have venues, music, people who go to shows, people that support the local scene and that hopefully one day I don’t have to see anymore of those stupid article headlines “Sydney live music scene is dying” because it’s not and I have no time for your bedroom journalism. Go see a show and stop being a buster.