INTERVIEW: Ash Grunwald

By Lucy Smith

What happens when you combine a Skrillex drop with raw blues? Ash Grunwald is discovering just that on his latest Australian tour following the release of his new album ‘Trouble’s Door’. Collaborating with Fingers Malone, Grunwald has perfected his acoustic blues style, which has been influenced by “driving dancefloor rhythms, buoyed by hip-hop beats and slammed by the dubstep crunch.”

Growing up in country Victoria, Grunwald nurtured his talents of singing and playing guitar before moving to Melbourne to make a name for himself and commence touring. His first release ‘Introducing’ (2002) established his roots in acoustic blues, however the influence of non-stop touring and festivals saw Grunwald experiment with a dance style with the agenda of “trying to make a really big sounding one man band.” Despite modifying his set with a band for several years, Grunwald has kept the nucleus around his solo show, saying “there’s a particular thing about playing solo that you can’t do with a band, you’re just way more connected to the audience.”

Grunwald has had many significant achievements over his ten-year musical career. From supporting Jack Johnson and James Brown, to an array of awards including the MBAS Blues Performer of the Year and APRA’s Song of the Year.  His consistency and hard work has lead to his “greatest achievement” – the creation of new album ‘Trouble’s Door’. Grunwald describes his work as “honest and bold” and “a bit more of a social commentary”. The production of beats by Fingers Malone sees the album dabble in the integration of new styles of electronic music with a rock-feel, whilst still maintaining the traditional unique blend of roots and blues. After a decade of performing Grunwald is “stoked to be doing something new, it’s like I’m just starting…and I want to just keep learning.”

After a very successful few weeks of touring, Ash is excited about the hybrid between being “on one hand a blues guy, and on another hand almost a DJ”. Combining the old set up using the kick drum and slide guitar, as well as DJ’ing beats from the albums into the show, Grunwald is thrilled with how it has been so well received – “I dreamt it up a couple of years ago and I’m just so stoked that I’m now doing it…I have a range of fans from all ages so I did wonder how it would go, but I’m so happy it went really well.”

The performance at The Patch on Thursday 21st of June will be a Triple J ‘Live at the Wireless’ event, with Grunwald promising a “more diverse show over all”. Keen to return to Wollongong Ash expects the night to go off; complete with “bass-heavy, bad-ass sounds” and acoustic dubstep jams, this is a performance you cannot afford to miss.

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GIG GUIDE: August 8th – 14th

THURSDAY: The Bungalows, Sticky Fingers @ Yours and Owls
8pm, $10, 18+

THURSDAY: Southerly Change, Swing Booty @ Sol Studios
8pm, $10, all ages

FRIDAY: Regurgitator, Disasteradio, Sydney Girls Choir @ Unibar
8pm, $15, 18+

FRIDAY: Justin Derrico, Alotta Presha, The Good God Damned, A Cat Named Kesey @ Waves Nightclub, Towradgi
8pm, $30, 18+ (CLICK TO BUY TICKETS)

FRIDAY: Mom Dad & The Kids, Let Me Down Jungleman @ Yours and Owls
8pm, 18+

FRIDAY: Blueberry Circuit, The Maze, Tommy M & The Mastersounds, Abstract Classic @ City Diggers (KidzWish Fundraising Concert)
7.30pm, $10, all ages (under 18s need to be signed in by an adult)

FRIDAY: Acid Monkeys (album launch), Baby Machine, Rock Steady Dub Militia @ Dicey Riley’s
9pm, free, 18+

SATURDAY: Ash Grunwald @ Waves Nightclub, Towradgi
8pm, $23.50, 18+ (CLICK TO BUY TICKETS)

SATURDAY: WIM, The Preachers @ Yours and Owls
8pm, $10, 18+

SATURDAY: Mortal Sin, Wolfkhan, Nekrofeist, Casket @ The Patch
7.30pm, $15, 18+

SUNDAY: Holland, I Am Apollo, Jack R Reilly @ Yours and Owls
8pm, 18+

TOUR NEWS: Ash Grunwald, Smoke or Fire, Pour Habit, Wolf & Cub, Fait Accompli,

A little bit o’ tour news for you on this crummy, cold night!

First off, Aussie blues and roots flagbearer Ash Grunwald will soon be passing through town, as part of his Road Dog Diaries tour in August. He plays Waves Nightclub on August 13, with tickets just $20 through Moshtix.

Next up is a big one for old school punk fans; Smoke Or Fire and Pour Habit will be heading Down Under for a co-headlining tour through October. This big, noisy double-header pulls into Waves Nightclub on October 5th; tickets go on sale July 14th, through Moshtix.

Adelaide psych-rockers Wolf & Cub have been keeping pretty quiet lately, but they’ve been at work finishing up a new single that should be out soon. To celebrate, they’re hitting the road for a quick tour through June. The band will be at The Patch on June 22, with Dark Bells and Upskirts in support. Tickets are twelve bucks, through BigTix.

Finally, Sydney ‘soul punk’ trio Fait Accompli will play The Patch on July 22nd. The band are touring to celebrate the launch of double A-side single ‘No Fool’ and ‘On A Blue Day.’ The Flat White Cats and Latham’s Grip are among the locals who will complete the lineup for what should be an excellent show.

If you’ve got any tour news, contact Radar through Facebook, or via radar.illawarra@gmail.com

Local Legends: THE HARP HOTEL

In terms of consistent pulling power, the Harp is probably the top venue in town.

The Corrimal St venue has arguably been the performance space that has ‘benefited’ most from the closure of other mid-sized venues in town, picking up acts that would have previously been hosted by the Oxford or Night Eats Day at Cooneys; the Harp has hosted the likes of Boy & Bear, The Jezabels, Ash Grunwald, Bodyjar, Parades, The Mission In Motion, Die! Die! Die!, and Howl in recent months, and the list of upcoming shows includes Oh Sleeper, The Chariot, Strange Talk, Pez and Maya Jupiter.

Largely dealing with tours from upcoming Australian talent – i.e. whatever you’re hearing on Triple J this week – its relationship with the team at Various Industries mean that the Harp is also usually a good place to check out local talent; Various seem to strive to put a local band or two on every gig that they can, helping local bands gain experience alongside more established acts.

A fairly classic representation of the ‘pub venue’ prevalent – but sadly in decline – in Sydney and Melbourne, it doesn’t try to be something it isn’t; a bar along one wall, a stage along the opposite wall, chairs and tables and a dancefloor between (and Buck Hunter and a pinball machine over in one corner). It’s a simple venue, but that is what makes it an effective venue. It’s a good venue for bands to play, it’s a good venue to see bands play. The sound system is great, you can see from wherever you are, you can sit down or stand up or dance, and – for some reason – it is never crowded.

Its proximity to the centre of town, to public transport and to essential amenities (i.e. McDonalds and Oporto) just helps to make the Harp one of the best venues in the area. A good lineup of bands, great facilities and an effective set-up; the Harp is a venue that you should become a little more acquainted with.

CONTACT:
The Harp Hotel, Wollongong
124 Corrimal Street, Wollongong
See Various Industries website for info on upcoming gigs.

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