West Thebarton performing live at the Gov
Photo credit: Alex Kwong

That One Night: West Thebarton At Adelaide’s The Gov

With COVID19 not doing the music industry any favours this year, the annual South Australian Music Awards, affectionately known as the SAMs, are returning to shine a light on the talented group of people – including engineers, producers, venues, events, visual artists, managers, videographers as well as the artists – that make up the SA music community. 

Held for the first time in a specially constructed outdoor format, the Sold Out 2020 SAM Awards continue to be a highlight of the South Australian music industry calendar, celebrating the best in local music now and looking ahead to the New Year.

Taking place on November 3rd, the SAM Awards this year will see dynamic and genre-diverse performances from four of the city’s best acts. Emerging hip-hop and R&B artist J-MILLA will perform alongside indie rock group SEABASS, experimental producer and songwriter Lonelyspeck, as well as breakthrough pop-punk trio Chelsea Manor. All up for awards themselves in November, ticket holders will be able to get a reminder as to why these artists are garnering attention around the country, and stand out as strong names to watch in 2021.

We recently spoke with The Gov, an Adelaide institution, who were able to reminisce on one of their favourite local acts, and winners of a few SAM awards themselves, West Thebarton performing a killer set that one night…

That One Night…

Artist: West Thebarton

Venue: The Gov (SA)

“Where to start with a band like West Thebarton? They are an absolute power-house who have commanded both stage and audience right from the start.  Thinking back on the early days, when they were playing small venues and dressing in a different theme each gig (who else remembers those tropical T-shirts?), they gave each show a level of intensity that could captivate hundreds of people – even with an audience of 50.  

Originally unfamiliar with the band and only going to my first show because Tom Gordon and Josh Battersby were involved (anything Horror My Friend did, I had to know about), I’ll never forget the feeling I was left with. This was the start of something special.  

Over the years, it’s been incredibly exciting to see them playing bigger and bigger shows, refining their sound and going from strength to strength; supporting acts like Courtney Barnett (Jive) and here at The Gov opening for British India and Ash Grunwald.  Back then they would manage their own gigs, but now they have a whole team looking after them!  

So, naturally, when my boss sent me the email to confirm their first headline show, I couldn’t contain my excitement. An album was out (Different Beings, Being Different) and this was the gig Adelaide fans had been waiting for.   

Once the formalities with the announce were finalised we met with the Hotel’s publicist (Sarah Martin) to get a promotional plan locked-in. But once the show was up and running it was hardly necessary – the response from the Adelaide fan-base was amazing! The band was humbled.  

As the show drew nearer, sales kept on ticking over until – you guessed it – West Thebarton’s first Headline show at The Gov was SOLD OUT.  We were inundated with media requests and had to deny options for plus ones – tickets and guestlists were maxed, however, that didn’t stop Violent Soho’s James Tidswell (West Thebarton’s label, Domestic La La Records) from making the trip down to catch his team in action. 

On the week of the show, you couldn’t contain the buzz at the hotel.  We have a lot of excellent acts that come through each year; however, to have a band whose music resonated with the majority of our staff from our sound-techs to the bar (some of whom knew members of the band or had been fans for quite some time) was exciting.   

Show night came around and punters were keen, arriving early to catch stellar supports Wing Defence, Stork and Pist Idiots. The energy in the room leading up to West Thebarton‘s set was palpable; sweat, beer and excitement; 700+ fans were ready!

From the opening notes, you could tell the band were just as excited about this show as we were.  As a fan, and someone who has seen a lot of performances in my 10 years at The Gov, it really is such a joy to see how much the musicians themselves love playing with each other – hugging and laughing. The vibes on stage really translated to the audience and, whenever things got too hectic for the fans down the front, they reminded us we’re all here for the same reason – the music.  

A favourite moment for me was when they brought out ‘Reasons, a moody and emotional song that gets right to the core of how you’re feeling. But, there was no denying the screams of the crowd during the closing track ‘Moving Out’ when we all chanted  “fuck the East man / the West is the best”.  

Much to the dismay of their tour manager, who had a flight at 8am, we had locked in a DJ after their set so we could keep the party going. The band were more than happy for fans to stay on in the venue after the gig and were more than willing to mingle; really embracing the vibe we all know and love at a West Thebarton show – family.”

 2020 South Australian Music Awards 

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

UniBar Adelaide

The SAM Awards is looking ahead to the future in continuing their commitment to celebrating the thriving community of musicians that really make SA Great.

Official Website 

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