Image for The Head of My Department: Super Florence Jam

The Head of My Department: Super Florence Jam

Written by Anna May on September 26, 2008

Would you rather be a midget or a hunchback: have no sense of humour or no sense of perspective? Would you rather be Morris Iemma or Morrissey? These are the questions that plague mankind. This is the sort of shit super FLORENCE jam asks me day to day. I speak to them every day. Let’s establish that I don’t fall in love with boys by rule, I fall in love with bands by law. With the exception of one or two men, we all fall off the wagon at least once – super FLORENCE jam, my first love.

With 2 EP releases under their proverbial belts and a recent interim: The Head of Your Department, denoting what awaits us on their eventual album, sFj have established themselves as one of Sydney’s most promising unsigned talents and a prominent addition to its progressive rock scene. It wasn’t always so. “To understand early sFj is to understand Valhalla and Prowler” says Adam. Laurence, Alex and Mike being early collaborators in such projects as Valhalla and meeting Adam of Prowler, realised they had a good thing going from those bluesy hard rock origins and working as a jam band. Busking famously to literal crowds of Sydneysiders in Pitt St Mall, they have evolved a good length from 2004 to 2008.

Being compared to Led Zeppelin in the band’s infancy (and it still stands) is never a bad thing. However, drawing from a whole new world of influences: progressive rock; jazz fusion; and perhaps most surprising, the delicate melodies of classic opera; they can add comparisons of King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Toto, Frank Zappa and even Mozart to their repertoire. They have not left anything behind. Rather, included it all into producing what can be described as a merger into increasingly exciting music. Keeping their jam band origins at heart, they still busk to this day – from Perisher Blue and down Melbourne way. Listing influences is one thing- every band has them. Listing comparable namesakes is another. Gigging, is without question a whole new topic.

For super FLORENCE jam, they have played every listable Sydney venue including Annandale, Manning Bar, and Gaelic… Even as I list those, I ask what does it mean? As the outsider looking in, to me gigging in Sydney can be one relentless and sprawled experience. There is no one place to break. Why? The world according to Mike, “I just think bands have to really work hard to get noticed in Sydney, it’s a very competitive city in terms of entertainment and venues place a lot of pressure on bands to pull paying or drinking punters to their shows. There are not many venues willing to develop bands by putting on shows till late, as we hear they did in the ‘old days’. Yet here they are making a difference within a realm that so many are seemingly disheartened with. Establishing their own scene with the Bird’s Robe Collective, and successfully putting together night’s of prog all around Sydney. This is an example of a hard-working rock band, and I guess you have to be in this town. More importantly, would you rather be Toothless Joe or Mormon Sam?

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