When the Bondi Cigars were first gigging around Sydney, late 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 – true survivors – have battled on, 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: no room for slackers here. 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 2 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. Front man Shane Pacey has long been a forceful, convincing singer, and a hard-attacking, razor sharp guitarist in the modern blowtorch style of Albert Collins, Joe Louis Walker, Larry McCray and other crazy stringbenders; he’s also an outstanding prolific songwriter, and there’s ample evidence in these tracks of his sardonic, savvy and slightly warped way with lyrics.
Bass player Al Hollywood Britton is another blues trooper, having survived the Dynamic Hepnotics and the Foreday Riders, and puts real backbone into the rhythm section – rock solid, responsive and funky; what’s more, he’s a dab hand in the organisational department, playing great lead telephone, according to the credits of Mercy (1998).These dual father – figures have kept the music tough and vigorous by usually recruiting new members from Sydney’s inner-west breeding grounds of exciting young R&B/roots bands.
DATE: SATURDAY 30 DECEMBER 2017 from 7:30pm VENUE: Lismore Workers Club - Main Lounge PRICE: FREE ENTRY