THERE have been some serious highs and lows on the national tour by Melbourne punks The Smith Street Band.
The big-buzz four-piece might be slightly relieved the tour wraps up this weekend, but not before they stop in to The Loft in Warrnambool on Saturday night.
The highs have involved sell-out shows. In their home city of Melbourne last weekend, they sold out so quickly they had to add a second show, which also sold out.
“That was an epic weekend,” drummer Chris Cowburn said.
“I’m just re-collecting my thoughts and belongings now.
“It’s a pretty good feeling to sell out a show. It’s happened a few times on tour. We sold out in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Canberra and both Melbourne shows.
“We were totally blown away. We’ll have to play some bigger venues next time, but we genuinely didn’t expect the response we got this tour.
“It’s humbling and incredible.
“In August and September last year we did an album launch tour (for Sunshine And Technology) and the response to that was awesome.
“We did similar-sized rooms on this tour but we thought the turnout might be smaller because we’ve got (no new music) out there.
“But most of the crowds are double in size. We couldn’t be more stoked.”
As for the lows, Cowburn said an incident where a member of support band The Bennies was stabbed outside their Byron Bay gig was about as low as things could go.
“That was really scary, a real downer,” he said.
Julien “Jules” Rozenbergs, guitarist with The Bennies, was allegedly stabbed by a drunken punter after being removed from the venue.
Cowburn said the punter had been trying to smash a whisky bottle when he was ejected. Outside the venue, the punter allegedly threatened other concert-goers before smashing the bottle and allegedly stabbing Rozenbergs when the guitarist stepped in to try to calm the situation.
“He had 70 stitches, was in hospital for three days and was told he couldn’t play guitar for three months,” Cowburn said.
“But he was millimetres away from hitting a central nerve in his arm and not being able to use or feel his arm again.
“It was horrific but it turned out the best it could. He’ll make a full recovery.”
Rozenbergs’ bandmates rushed the guitarist to hospital and Cowburn said that by the time The Smith Street Band had been told what had happened and rushed outside, Rozenbergs was already on his way to emergency.
“These guys are our best mates. They’re incredible dudes,” Cowburn said.
“The upshot when you have horrible situations like this is that it brings out the best in people and you see what people are worth.
“The amount of love that has been sent to The Bennies and Jules from around the music crew and around the country has been amazing.”
The Smith Street Band and tour-mates Bomb The Music Industry donated their guitarists to The Bennies, allowing the band to complete the tour. The Bennies will appear at The Loft in Warrnambool with The Smith Street Band, alongside supports Tim Hampshire and Max Goes To Hollywood.
The tour supports the latest Smith Street Band single Young Drunk, which is earning Triple J air time.