It's been a moment since Grinspoon's Phil Jamieson ventured south side.
The years have turned to decades past, but the memories of the early band days at St George and Sutherland Shire venues are not far from mind for Jamieson, who to this day has a pretty familiar line of sight from the stage.
St George Sailing Club, Caringbah Bizzos, an all-ages show at Sutherland Entertainment Centre and Brass Monkey Cronulla, were on the venue list back in the day, rocking it out for love-struck teenagers of the late 90s and early 2000s.
"They were part of our rock band pub crawl days," Jamieson said. "A lot of people I've met from the area have said that Grinspoon was the first band they saw."
Coincidentally, a southern Sydney link continues, as the artist's nephew was recently signed to the St George Dragons. Sydney's south won't be a distant bygone site anytime soon, especially come January 2024.
Returning as part of his 19-date solo tour through NSW, Jamieson is venturing back into the shire, this time to Huxley's at Caringbah, on January 20. The ARIA Award-winning singer is bringing his Nobody Else tour in 2024, armed his latest album Somebody Else.
He's no stranger to live performances. Jamieson is most recently closing out the year with a sold out national Grinspoon tour. But expect a stripped back version with this run - intimate with a few never-before-heard surprises, plus a little flashback he promises.
"Having just finished the Grinspoon tour, I'm going from the ridiculous to the sublime," he said. "Acoustic brings backs memories of loop pedals so I get a bit fearful about that word, but it's going to be stripped back. It's challenging but it's without any frills so you can see the songs bare.
"It's going to be a fun tour. There will be a nostalgia aspect but not to disappoint the grinners fans, you're not gonna hear Chemical Heart or those big songs. I think it would be disingenuous to the band so I've picked stuff that it a little more off the beaten track of our repertoire - stuff I wrote personally that I've rearranged."
It's laid back listening but with some energetic punch. Each of the eight songs are different and carry their own vibe, with Jamieson pointing out a few favourites. "I really like Little Pickle," he said. "I love Rebecca and Rubberband. Within Grinspoon it's a collaborative, creative process - there's a lot of compromise. But within this project, it's incredibly satisfying. Trouble will be difficult to play without a band, but I'm going to give a go."
Although it's a solo act there will be just a tad of string and vocal support. "I'm bringing one other instrumentalist with me from Melbourne," Jamieson said. 'It's 'nobody else' but it's kind of cheating. He will be on guitar and will sing to help out in parts to flesh out the sound, rather than just me dabbling away.
"I'm also working on material for the second record and I'm going to road test some of those songs at Huxley's and see the reactions, whether they like it or not."
The black and white album cover is reminiscent of a tour through Western Australia in 2018, when Newcastle based photo journalist Luke David Kellett tagged along for the musical ride with Jamieson. "He offered to come and took beautiful photos, which I never thought I would use. As the record was taking shape, I thought about what we'd use for artwork, and I remembered his photos. I'm very lucky to have such a beautiful image."
Jamieson lives up north with his partner Julie, a freelance yoga teacher and mental health youth worker, and the couple has two children. "Family life is good," he said. "My eldest, she's doing the HSC and my youngest he is completing TAFE. It's a wild time. I had children relatively young."
When not chilling near Port Macquarie, it's bliss to be back on stage he says, having spent most of the pandemic period, writing. "I have the advantage of living in regional NSW so I managed to tip-toe into little shows where they'd sell 30 tickets to people masked-up. Playing kept me sane. It was heartbreaking for crews- we lost a lot of people who helped us look good, which is necessary at my age," the 46-year-old said.
The Aussie artist is also a passionate vocal advocate for the Yes campaign in The Voice, sharing his hopes for a more united nation. "It's about healing and is a beautiful, generous gift to First Nations people, to allow us to walk with them," Jamieson said.
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