For the last 3 years Gangbusters, held at Bar 32, has been the most consistent and entertaining band night in Canberra, showcasing locals like Kasha and Assassins 88 and interstate acts from M.O.T.O (US) to The Witch Hats (Melb). March 10th Gangbusters returns for one of the more exciting lineups. The Fighting League make their long awaited live return after hiatus, supported by Beat Hotel and Super Best Friends. In celebration we chatted with the man behind it all, Warwick Smith, to discuss Canberra, Birds Love Fighting and Gangbusters.
How did Birds Love Fighting start? Radge, if any of you remember him, ran a night called Manshandies. He asked me to help out on a show for Alps of NSW, then he moved to Sydney and I kept the dream alive and ran the show. It went so well and I saw the bright look in everyones eyes that this could happen again. And it has since, over and over.
Where does the name come from? Prove me wrong. Look outside man. They are everywhere ... waiting.
What has been your involvement in Canberra music and how long have you been around? Ok, well my involvement in the Canberra music scene has been varied and hard to fit into a concise answer but I'll try. I began in Horse Macgyver with Tim Dwyer, Brad Huvel, Simon Long and Leon Twardy. I had no idea what I was doing playing some noise guitar and was pretty naive, I fell under Tim's spell and drank a lot of gin. A world of promises and excess. I then was part of supergroup, Mankilled, who explored the darker side of progressive doom, psych, space, rock and metal. Things kind of got blurry from that point. I was a member of other bands The Gashes, The Cherry Marines and You Hang Up; No You Hang Up and have played a few shows with Jonny Telafone lending him my guitar. My current projects are Cat Cat and JW Sparrow & the Miner Birds. I have a PA which I lend out to house shows and other gigs when I can, do a bit of mixing. Under the label I established Gangbusters at Bar 32, put on gigs at The Front, sometimes at The Phoenix, got kicked out of Transit (surprise?) and help out the ladies at I Trip I Skip with Grass Stains shows. Now I hope to further expand a little into releasing more Canberra gold.
What is your favorite show you have put on? That Batrider show at Toast was pretty good, not many faithfuls came, it was double booked with some shit band at Transit Bar and everyone fucked up by going there instead.
What is your favorite show that you have played? Mankilled played a show at the Jamieson Inn once, we were down a member, but it was really fun.
What is your favorite music venue in Canberra, past/present? Awkward Bar. What happened? Best name ever.
Has Canberra music changed since you first started, for better or worse? Yes it has changed. Better for some, worse for others.
What can people expect from Gangbusters in 2010? You can expect more unheard music, like this music blog I hope to reveal more about Canberra. Last year we put on a lot of bands more than once and got things a little more established. This year it's about opening minds again and experimenting.
Are there any plans for expanding outside of Gangbusters and the occasional front show? as in new venues or new nights? I keep hearing about new venues, some are real, some aren't ... but after Thee Oh Sees show I would be very happy to do more shows at The Phoenix. If anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them.
Gangbusters used to be fortnightly, why the change? It also used to be weekly, it was over saturation and people stopped coming and the bands were strangely running thin.
Any new releases planned? We have penned down From The South, Cat Cat, The Fighting League and JW Sparrow and the Miner Birds.
Is there anything planned for Cat Cat or J.W. Sparrow in the future? New releases for both, and I'd love to organise some shows out of Canberra for Cat Cat.
Is it hard putting on shows in Canberra? It's easy to book one, but it can be tricky to organise it. It can be stressful, and people can disappoint you. But once you've been doing it for a while you come to expect certain situations and start to relax. I've been doing Gangbusters for three years almost and I've only just relaxed. I can predict when someone is going to call me freaking out that they don't have a sound guy or a PA, it's a gift.
The Fighting League are headlining the next Gangbusters, what can people expect? what is the progress of their album coming out on BLF? The guys have recorded and are now in the progress of mixing, it's hard not to say that this is the most anticipated release in Canberra's history. People can expect that Dom will take his shirt off and give commands into the microphone, they are noisy, tight and a good party band. If you haven't seen The Fighting League then you're probably not reading this blog, but if you aren't reading this blog then you should definitely come and see them.
Gangbusters is held on the first Wednesday of the month at Bar 32. $5 entry 18+ only