Through winter 2022, Jim Beam and Rolling Stone Australia combined to present the three-date Jim Beam Welcome Sessions. The ongoing live series is rooted in the bourbon brand’s conviction that live music has the power to bring people together, turning strangers into friends and friends into family.
From humble beginnings as a digital content series featuring overseas acts such as Wolf Alice, Jose Gonzalez, Jack Garratt and Fontaines D.C., the Jim Beam Welcome Sessions live music experiences officially landed on Australian shores earlier this year, presenting up-close DJ sets from Flight Facilities and Client Liaison and an extraordinarily intimate live performance from The Veronicas.
The series began at The Rooftop Sydney, where Flight Facilities’ Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell returned to the city and local music scene that raised them for an extended afternoon DJ set in front of an intimate mid-afternoon crowd.
Lyell spoke to Rolling Stone Australia about the duo’s eagerness to perform in such an informal setting. “We’re really lucky that we’ve got a bunch of things that we can do outside of just playing as a band,” he said. “We love DJing and it’s the basis of Flight Facilities.”
Flight Facilities were in their element throughout the Rooftop performance and the manifest joy in the audience led them to extend their DJ set well beyond its advertised end-time. In the afternoon light, the ARIA-winning duo initiated a playful musical dialogue with the audience. In fact, the only reason the band eventually left was to catch a flight for an international tour.
The Welcome Sessions’ next stop was Buffalo Bar in Brisbane where Client Liaison’s Monte Morgan and Harvey Miller took the helm of a DJ set unlike any other. As they pressed play on tunes from Fatboy Slim and Prince, Morgan got out in the crowd to deliver oysters.
“It’s about going above and beyond,” Miller told Rolling Stone. When he wasn’t indulging the crowd in culinary delicacies, Morgan would jump on the microphone to ad lib over the tracks. “It’s just about bringing energy,” said Miller, who views DJing as a distinct form of expression.
“I love DJing,” he told Rolling Stone Australia. “Just being able to play someone else’s song is a real privilege.” Client Liaison certainly had the Buffalo Bar audience on-side, with the pair going on to mingle with the audience once the set was over, taking selfies and sharing a laugh.
The ultimate Welcome Sessions event took place at The Hop Bar at Beer DeLuxe in Melbourne. The atmosphere during The Veronicas’ afternoon set was relaxed, but doting. Jessica and Lisa Origliasso performed a set of live favourites in intimate venue, including their breakthrough hit “4ever” and the enduring noughties pop anthem “Untouched”.
The Origliasso twins also performed tracks from 2021’s back-to-back top ten albums, Godzilla and Human, while the crowd contributed clearly audible backing vocals, whilst sipping on some refreshing Jim Beam homestyle lemonade and peach ice tea drinks.
The performance brought tears of joy to the eyes of several diehard fans in the audience, many of who had been waiting nearly two decades to see The Veronicas in such an intimate, personable environment.
After waving a Pride flag, the Origliassos stuck around to take photos, sign autographs and forge a closer connection with their many admirers.
The founding goal of the Jim Beam Welcome Sessions is to bring fans and artists together in the creation of one-of-a-kind live music experiences. The series’ 2022 instalment more than delivered on this promise.