Blog: Jagwar Ma

Gab and Jack on the biodiversity of touring around the world

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This is where we’re from, for better or worse. I mean some people refer to Australia as the wild west of the music industry – tough gigs, tough crowds, tough stages and if you can’t play the opening riff to Thunderstruck you might as well not bother.

We recently played a show in Sydney, to describe in one word… “Sharknado”. Seriously, it was a surf comp festival, and we were the closing act, on the famed Manly Beach. Shortly after the festivities had begun and all the world famous shredlords were well into carving up mother nature, there was a large air-raid siren (interrupting our soundcheck mind you) and it became apparent there were at least three sharks within ‘Pokemon Go’ range.

So the surf comp was indefinitely put on ice, upon reflection I don’t know what the organiser’s idea was, were they going to just wait until the sharks got bored and resume the festivities? Not exactly the type of creature you can shoo out your door with a broom. Anyway…

All of the bands were still a-go-go. But as if the sharks themselves had power of not the only the ocean but the heavens, like a backdrop to their own concert, the skies opened, the wind began to howl and next thing you know we’re playing in a full on tropical monsoon.

Our crew ran out with garbage bags to cover up our equipment, as raindrops the size of grapefruits pelted down. Despite their efforts to save the show, our egos were bruised. We turned up thinking we would be the big closing act, only to be upstaged by three big, scary, grey fish. Mind you, it does make one respect the radical power that is shark.

Jack’s Trans Europe Express’o

Some of the most thrilling aspects of the tour life come with just roaming across mainland Europe. Unlike in Australia where everywhere is 800 miles away, it seems every few hours on the road and you’re in a different country with a different culture and history.

Although it’s not all gravy on this train we call life. One time I had to jump straight into a transfer right after finishing our set at Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium. I had a family engagement in London that evening and had to get the Eurostar to from Brussels Midi to London. Outside the station with five minutes to spare I sparked a cigarette.

In a 12 second window of opportunity of my not paying attention to my surroundings, a small pack of hoodlums decided they wanted my stuff… one thing led to another and I found myself in a five-on-one scuffle. Using the best Street Fighter combos my mind could muster, I somehow successfully managed to keep hold of my valuables. I learned two lessons that day: always keep an eye on your surroundings, and beware of the Belgian alcoves.


And last but not least we have to talk about Manchester. I imagine that everyone reading this will know more about the fair city than we do. But from what little time we’ve spent in Manchester it’s always been a vibe.

To be honest, when press first starting making the connection of our music and the Manchester scene I had not thought about it. But then when I look back into the musical education that me and my peer group went through, Manchester did keeping coming up as a city of origin for many of the bands we loved and still do.

Most of all it’s the ace time we have with Manchester crowds that keeps us coming back for more.

From the sunlit shores of Sydney to the technicolour musical overcoat of the magical north of England feels almost like coming home… except with less sharks.

Jagwar Ma play The Ritz, Manchester, Saturday 18 March

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