Late last month, the 2022 Sailor Jerry Rolling Stone Australia Awards helped to shine a light on some of the best and brightest talent in the Australian music scene. Following on from a successful inaugural event in 2021, the last 12 months were undoubtedly worth celebrating when it comes to local music, but this time, the awards were set to kick off with an extra celebration of what makes local music so great.
Announced back in February, the Sailor Jerry Road to Rolling Stone was a series of free gigs that kicked off in March as a way to not only highlight the upcoming awards, but to help punters remember just how great live music is, especially following a few years which had seen shows become a rarity.
As The Brag Media’s Editor in Chief Poppy Reid explained, the series of gigs were “our way of investing back into the industry that inspires us every day,” while noting that it would also highlight “Rolling Stone Australia and Sailor Jerry playing its part in reconnecting fans with live music again.”
Officially launching in Melbourne on March 16th, the series of shows officially became underway thanks to a performance by The Grogans at Stay Gold. As was the plan at each event, Sailor Jerry helped to turn the venues into veritable parties, with the likes of bespoke drinks flowing from the bar, and helping punters remember what it’s like to be completely immersed within the live music atmosphere.
And of course, the music itself played an integral role in the experience, with The Grogans bringing their uniquely-infectious fusion of grunge and punk sounds to the Stay Gold stage.
“Courtesy of the poptastic ‘Pretty Dress’ and the ode to getting smashed but fronting up for work the next day, ‘Woke Up Feeling Alright’, The Grogans got the Stay Gold audience on-side early,” wrote reviewer Augustus Welby in a recap of the event.
“In fact, the crowd was pulled with apparent magnetic force to the stage area as soon as The Grogans jumped on stage. The collective physical reactions elicited by live favourites ‘Washed Out’ and the Black Keys-meets-John Butler jammer, ‘Abando’, made for a surreal sight in a post-Covid world.”
The festivities continued the following day, with Sydney playing host to The Terrys at Mary’s Underground. Armed with a sound full of classic surf-indie anthems, the group pushed their message of unity and community via their eclectic sounds, urging fans to embrace to the mosh as they too heralded the full-scale return of live music to local stages.
“Set among the fittingly grungy backdrop of Sydney’s Mary’s Underground, singer Jacob Finch, guitarists Lukas Anderson and Ben Salvatori, drummer Cameron Cooper, and bass player Trent Cooper brought their signature explosive stage presence to the crowd of eager fans as they sipped on Sailor Jerry Spiced rum in celebration of the long-overdue return to live music,” wrote reviewer Jessica Lynch.
“The vibes were at an all-time high as the Gerrigingong rockers turned up the energy for the devoted crowd, who moshed their Terry-loving hearts out and sang along as lead singer Jacob rocked out sans shirt to ‘IDK’ and ‘Our Paradise’ at the intimate gig.”
In true fashion, the third and final gig in the Sailor Jerry Road to Rolling Stone series didn’t quite go as planned, with flooding seeing the Brisbane performance from Eliza & the Delusionals pushed back until March 24th due to flooding.
However, absence made the heart grow fonder, and by the time the group took to the stage at Suzie Wongs, it was undoubtedly clear to all in attendance that the wait was more than worth it.
“As the bar staff swung the big bell ornaments that hung from the roof, Eliza & the Delusionals rioted their way onto the stage with their 2020 single, ‘Swimming Pool’,” wrote reviewer Thomas Bleach. “The good vibes were euphoric with the crowd ecstatically singing along to early favourites ’19’, ‘Cigarette’, and ‘Pull Apart Heart’.
“It truly felt like this gig was born to be at this particular Sailor Jerry home as the Hawaiian inspired Tiki bar was as loud and in-your-face as the band,” he added. “From the moment you walked into the bar you were transported into a chaotic world of escapism, with great music and drinks bringing you into the moment.”
While the Sailor Jerry Road to Rolling Stone series was designed as a way to help tie in with last month’s Sailor Jerry Rolling Stone Australia Awards, the three shows held at venues around the country didn’t in any way feel like self-serving events. Rather, they were immersive celebrations of the power of live music, and just how much it means to so many.
Aussie music-lovers had spent far too long kept away from the stages that they frequented, and with a series of free shows (headlined by three stellar local artists, mind you), it felt like the perfect way to bring back a sense of normalcy to the Australian music scene once again.
Needless to say, judging by the response of fans and artists, the countdown is already on for us to be able to do it all again next year.