‘I’m serving a life sentence of rock and roll’: Melbourne’s Society of Beggars are at their cataclysmic best on Well of Wishes

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‘I’m serving a life sentence of rock and roll’: Melbourne’s Society of Beggars are at their cataclysmic best on Well of Wishes

Society of Beggars - Band Photo
Words by Staff Writer

We know Montsalvat when we see it! What better mise-en-scene for Melbourne's dark-psychedelia extraordinaires Society of Beggars' new video than the looming gothic cathedrals of Eltham's artist colony.

Laying in the tall, long grass like you’ve got something to prove
I’m gathering up your black clouds like you wanted me to
You say you’re driving, take me anywhere you choose
Two oblivious angels on a dead honeymoon

If you’re familiar with the Melbourne scene and this ol’ rag then you’ll already know Society of Beggars: we’ve been applauding their valiant efforts since the band moved down from Adelaide well over a decade ago (bringing their families with them in a self-described “mafioso” move).

Their latest release, Well of Wishes, has everything we’ve come to love about the acclaimed quartet, with Yianni Michalopoulos’ epic vocals and spellbinding lyricism perfectly suited to his brother, Dimitrios’ droning guitar work. Add Tom ‘Dibi’ Di Biase (drums) with Zoë Alexa (bass) and you have a very tight, experienced outfit who are truly in their prime.

“I gave my life to the well of wishes / Don’t make me feel bad / You know you get vicious” – what an earworm! Watching Yianni’s awe-inspiring vocals play out at Monsalvat reminds us of that powerful Gerard Butler line in Law Abiding Citizen: “I gonna bring the whole fuckin’ diseased corrupt temple down on your heads. It’s gonna be biblical.”

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Society of Beggars (their polysemous name is also a favourite) once described themselves as “if you ever wanted to hear Nirvana fight the Bee Gees whilst a bunch of old Greek guys play in the background and take shots of ouzo then you’ll love us”.

That hints at their rather broad stylistic inspirations, but Well of Wishes sounds breathtakingly modern – it has massive contemporary appeal. Its emotional resonance stems from Yianni’s brooding, romantic and even forlorn refrains, but the cacophony of riffs and Di Biase’s drumming keep it piledriving forward over nearly five minutes.

This is the fourth single from their excellent forthcoming record Levitator, we wrote at length about their previous single Lick last year.

“We wanted to create a song that captures the heady feeling of attraction and enticement when meeting someone for the first time who comes from a completely different world,” Yianni says.

“Basically say, this is what I am, scars and all. I’ve given my life to something bigger. Well of Wishes, as a song, is this sort of tattered, scratched badge of honour, that says, “I’m serving a life sentence of rock and roll”.

Ensure you don’t miss their powerful live performance – it’s something they put a lot of effort into – when Society of Beggars play Nighthawks in Collingwood on July 28 with special guests Oceans and El Bebe.

Follow Society of Beggars across their socials for the latest release and upcoming gig info: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. You can also check out their website here: www.societyofbeggars.com or buy their music on Bandcamp here.

This article was made in partnership with Society of Beggars.