Showbag!

In early 2000 grew another new band Showbag from Perth, Western Australia.  Everyone was raving about them, throwing the next big thing tag in every conversation.  There was something about that first experience watching Showbag back then that hit – they were fresh and nervous, the music simple and not overly tight. It was their songs – classic guitar pop hooks combined with an ear for unique melody that pricked your ears up.   And, those songs simply ran around your head for days, you just couldn’t get rid of them.

Over the next year the band released their debut EP Playlunch and followed up soon after with Quicksand. With these releases came Australia wide recognition and it gave local fans a chance to return to those songs from the early shows. Showbag were still the kind of band that pop-lovers could not get enough of. With the EP’s putting in overtime on local radios and car stereos throughout Perth, listeners began to really embrace the depth in these tunes.  It’s odd, the songs make you smile with their energy, girl/guy trading vocals and pop feel, but when you take the time to sit and listen – the sadness hits you like a steam train. Listening to How Much Would It Hurt literally feels like you have seen inside the band (or perhaps vice versa) and uncovered all of those sordid fears and insecurities we all try so hard to hide.

Just as the future looked rosy cracks began to appear. The band lost guitarist Jeff Baker who left sunny Perth for Melbourne and not long after Kelly Campbell (bass, vocals) departed. The band had however recorded 5 tracks for their anticipated debut album which caught the eye of San Francisco record label Zip Records, in particular the classic ballad Never Get There, which the label subsequently released as a single in October 2002.

Armed with new enthusiasm, foundation members vocalist and guitarist Glenn Musto and drummer Chris Havercroft have put together a new band consisting of local stalwarts Andrew Powell (Bucket, Jayco Brothers) on bass, Adem K (Turnstyle) on guitar and newcomer Jodie Bartlett (Josivac), the key ingredient to trade vocals with Glenn in that imitable Showbag sound. The now settled lineup generates a powerful, yet reflective, live show living up to the potential Showbag has has promised from the beginning.

In December to March 2003 Showbag recorded their superb debut album The Town We Loved In.  Set in the fictitious Australian town Perish Union, it tells 14 tales about life, heartbreak, happiness and sadness – centred around broken relationships deteriorating with the town.  It’s Showbag in their finest form yet, dishing out lashings of melody and contrasts coupled with a bunch of lines that you wish you wrote in a letter to your first girlfriend.

 

In their time the group featured David Elieff, Paul Fanning, Adem K, Colin Reeves, Todd Griffiths, Dean Davies, Glenn Musto, Chris Havercroft, Andrew Powell and Jodie Bartlett.

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This is their debut EP ‘Play lunch’ from the year 2000.

Showbag’s debut release, a twee pop sound with a lo-fi edge and melodic pop dynamics.  Has a sound similar Belle and Sebastian with a hint of the interesing ideas of bands like Guided By Voices and Sparklehorse.

This is their 2002 EP ‘Never Get There’.

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And here is a 2003 LP by them called ‘The Town We Loved In’. Writing credits on this are Glenn Musto (vocals, guitar, bass, keys), Jodie Barlett (vocals, percussion), Chris Havercrogt (drums, percussion), Adem Kerimofski (guitar, backing vocals, keys), Andrew Powell (bass, backing vocals).

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One of the premier indie pop acts in Australia, Showbag! can best be described as a consistent enigma.  Throughout their four year existence the band have released two EP’s and two inspiring singles all receiving great attention and worldwide airplay.  In turn, Showbag have received such notoriety as winning the WA Music Industry Best Pop Act award, Austereo’s Unsigned Find and Triple J’s Next Wave.

Whilst transitioning through some line up changes the band now feature many of Perth’s finest musicians and have quickly proven themselves as a brilliant live act. With their sound slowly incorporating a somber heartfelt edge, they are now set to produce one of the most outstanding albums of our time.  It’s the band’s wistfully woven tapestry of girl/guy lyrics, illustrating raw emotion that allows the listener to reach out and touch the realness of the songs. This places Showbag in their own distinct position in Australian music.

In December to March 2003 Showbag recorded their superb debut album The Town We Loved In.  Set in the fictitious Australian town Perish Union, it tells 14 tales about life, heartbreak, happiness and sadness – centred around broken relationships deteriorating with the town.  It’s Showbag in their finest form yet, dishing out lashings of melody and contrasts coupled with a bunch of lines that you wish you wrote in a letter to your first girlfriend.  It features a re-working of the 2001 radio favourite How Much Would It Hurt their recent single Never Get There and the new radio single Perish Union where the combination male/female lead vocals put Showbag in a class of their own.

They also appear to have put out another EP which I don’t have and would be grateful for. It is called ‘Quicksand’.

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