On the Floor: New kind of revue

The Broken Heartbreakers are on their way south.
The Broken Heartbreakers are on their way south.
Auckland's Broken Heartbreakers had a full-on 2008, and are describing this year so far as a reflective period.

The band returns to Dunedin this week for a show, bringing some alt-country-inflected pals along for the ride, as Rachel Bailey explains.

"We have been writing and recording. We had a busy year last year, and 2009 has been kind of a time of consolidation. It's been an interesting shift of focus from the kind of more publicity-focused stuff to the more behind-the-scenes stuff.

"It's not particularly glamorous spending time in the practice room, working on new material, but if we're going to release anything, it has to be something we want to listen to and feel really proud of."

The band began as a country-music outfit but in more recent times has been pushing the genre into new areas.

Bailey says the multi-band tour idea came, like many good songs, out of the practice room.

"It's been very much a collaborative process. The initial idea was cooked up in Heartbreaker HQ in Morningside, Auckland, when we had Adam and Jess of The Eastern staying with us.

"The Eastern are always gigging and touring ... they are very motivated, motivating people who encouraged us to get back on the road again.

"We are all mates with Rosy Tin Tea Caddy and Bond Street Bridge is Sam's [from the BHBs] solo project.

"Although all the groups have their unique identities, we all instinctively knew that we were coming from the same place musically. So the idea of the slow-song revue just unfolded naturally.

"Most importantly, we were all on board with the concept of sharing the stage - as opposed to all jostling for the limelight - and creating a show that really gives the audience something special."

Bailey says people should expect a series of short, snappy performances.

"Beautiful, short acoustic-based sets from all the acts [about 20-25 minutes each] followed by a shared set whereby we all play each other's songs. We're all into the idea of the old-school revue show with the focus, without sounding too flowery, on sharing a bit of a community vibe among the bands and hopefully the audience."

Port Chalmers venue Chicks Hotel has had a lengthy legacy before the present management, and it's becoming a place to see bands, which hasn't escaped notice of The Broken Heartbreakers.

"We have friends who live in Port and are regulars there ... we've only ever heard good things about the place.

"Also, other bands that we know that've passed through have spoken highly of the place as well.

"It's funny, but growing up in Dunners, I always thought Port Chalmers was a long way out of town, but it's just a hop, skip and a jump, really. We'd love to see a few of the Dunedin city slickers make the trip out to see the show. What's a cab ride cost between four people, after all?"

Bailey says the bands on the bill know each other.

"We've all played together loads of times around the place but we've never all toured together."

Next for the band following this tour is a bit of a temporary line-up change.

"The Heartbreakers also play as a five-piece group, with Mike Stoodley on bass and Myles Allpress on drums, and we're all chipping away at a new recording . . . The focus after this tour is just to get these recordings to a place that we're happy with and to get some more tunes out into the world."


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