Queenscliff Music Festival Winter Warmup

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Queenscliff Music Festival Winter Warmup


Clairy Browne of Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes fame, while not being a massive fan of the festival circuit, is looking forward to the allure that QMF brings. They are writing new material and setting themselves up for a residency at The Tote but first on the cards is the excitement of getting people ready for the QMF. Having ventured there in her younger days, Browne comments on the different personalities that festivals around this country seem to possess. “Everyone has a different opinion in the band,” Browne says as an early disclaimer. “I personally don’t like a lot of festivals that much and I prefer a more intimate space where someone has come specifically to see you. But I think the exciting thing about a festival is that you discover a lot of bands that you would not have otherwise seen so it’s an open forum for discovery. I hate port-a-loo’s and stuff,” she says laughing. “But there is at least an environment where everyone is there to support live music…I hate the wastoid festivals and Queenscliff is not like that at all. They have really well-known bands, they take pride in good musicianship and the crowd are really engaged. There aren’t a million teenagers on ecstasy, let’s say that. It’s a bit family and it’s a bit more refined so I really like this one.”

With her band climbing the indie ranks with relative ease, her gigging schedule (or as it should be called, work) means that time at home is precious and ingesting new music is best achieved in a lounge room or other such domestic space. “Sometime it gets hard to be a fan of live music because your life is about playing shows and when you aren’t playing you think ‘eh, I can’t go out again’,” she explains. “But as far as music as a whole I think being a musician increases your music libido.”

CB&TBR manage to combine the punch of old-school song structures with contemporary sonic textures and steering away from being labelled as a pure nostalgia band was something they focussed heavily on. “The sound was already there and had a contemporary feel to it as well but I guess it was about making sure people didn’t think we were just a cover band…The focus and concept was there from the beginning. It was, when we first started, about the show and putting on an extravagant, over-the-top performance. We were lucky to have some great writers so the music came together quite well.”

When you read descriptions of Clairy Browne the adjective “fierce” comes up a lot. The image of a fierce woman can sometimes conjure ideas of Margaret Thatcher, rather than an artist like Browne. Women are still finding their feet in all industries, including music, and strong role models are vital but focusing on an artist purely because they are female seems dated and unnecessary. Browne, however, takes it all in her stride. “It’s definitely a talking point,” she says. “I think it’s really important to have strong female role models in music for sure. People always ask these commonplace questions like ‘she’s female; she’s tough’.” But what does tough mean to Browne? “I think it’s just about having a strength in conviction that doesn’t comply with normal ideals as to what a female should be. I think I maybe subvert normal ideals about what a woman should be in a band…People ask me about being tough or fierce or scary or formidable and I just do my thing, you know? I just do my thing when I get up there. If people want to identify with certain characteristics through the labels given to them then that’s fine, but I am just being myself.”