It’s a claim to fame that will stick on their resume for years: The Nu BLaCK will be the first local band to ever headline the Townsville Rock Fest. After winning a local Battle of the Bands, the four-piece was awarded the third headline spot alongside classic touring bands Mental as Anything and The Radiators at next weekend’s event. We caught up with The Nu BLaCK lead vocalist, Steve Bennett, to find out what it meant to be stepping up alongside the classic Aussie rockers, and what to expect from the band’s set.
For people who haven’t heard the Nu BLaCK before, what should they expect at Rock Fest?
Our sound can best be described as solid, hard, classic rock – well-known and played to the max. We currently have two guitarists that both have a background playing hard rock and metal, so although we’re playing these covers, they’re more than that: we add our own flavours to them. We try to enhance songs in our own way – which can be difficult when you’re playing songs that are already so incredible, written and performed by the best bands of all time, but we do hope people like the Nu BLaCK twists.
What does it mean to you to be in a headliner spot at Rock Fest?
It’s all still a bit surreal! In my own head, I’ve been trying to work out how a local pub band could ever be given an opportunity like this, to play alongside incredible bands like Mental and The Radiators. It means a lot and is quite an honour, and is something we’re still trying to handle in our own way.
Can we expect a few originals in your set?
Not this time! We’ve done a few originals in the past, but have had a lineup change and will have a new drummer and be borrowing a bass player for the Rock Fest, so will be sticking to the songs we all play well. At the end of the day, we’re a pub rock band so although we’ve done a few originals, we haven’t had the same response to them: people want to hear the big bands’ songs done well, because they’re the ones they would sing along to – we don’t get that with our originals.
What’s your favourite cover song?
Anything that starts with the drummer going ‘1, 2, 3, 4!’ and is full of bass distortion! Love AC/DC and The Angels, have a couple of both of those bands’ songs in our set, as well as the Screaming Jets, Grinspoon … I love the bluesy rock, and because it is Bathurst time I’m going to go for a Motorhead term: we inject our sets with a lot of high-octane, meaty songs.
And finally, what’s your dream for the band?
Honestly, I personally want to get to the stage where we are playing so much that when Aidan [McGuigan, lead guitar] calls saying we have a gig, it’s a struggle to find time to fit it in. We love having a tight, solid sound, and want everything to be done in a highly professional way so that when we do perform, the crowd recognise the quality and respond to that.
Catch Mental as Anything, The Radiators, The Nu Black, and local support acts at the Townsville Rock Fest, Murray Sporting Complex, this Saturday 14 October. Click here for tickets.