They come from the land down unda: Aussie indie act Royal Headache finds relief from U.S. travel-cost migraines on the festival circuit.
Though they come from “the land down unda,” Australia’s Royal Headache has been growing a loyal following in the states. That’s not bad for a quartet two LPs into the game. The group is about to storm our shores again for a handful of dates coinciding with their appearance at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. The festivals are what land the group stateside these days.
...off of Royal Headache's new record, High
“Going to the other side of the world is hard for us as a band,” Headache bassist Joe explained via email. “First, it costs a lot just to get to the U.S., and we work full-time jobs at home, so we get limited leave. Pretty much every tour we do overseas is based around a big festival putting up enough money for us to break even.”
The roots of the Royal Headaches sound is hinted at in the singular names of the band members — Joe, Shorty, Law, Shogun — a simple, punk-sounding lineup with roots in that Sydney scene. Joe cites classic Aussie punk acts such as the Saints, X (Aussie edition), Tactics, the Apartments, and the Go-Betweens as older influences, and a newer act, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, as being “the most influential in us believing we could play music.”
Don’t think these guys are just another punk band, though, their latest album, High, finds the group mixing raw punk energy with satisfying mid-tempo numbers like the anthemic, radio-friendly “Carolina.” The collection is akin to the Clash or the Replacements a couple years into their runs — the gas pedal might not always be pinned to the floor, but the group is branching out musically with youthful energy intact. And speaking of energy, Joe mentioned that they never make a setlist, relishing the opportunity to “pull out some barely rehearsed thing and watch the gleeful faces sour in disgust.”
- Saturday, July 9, 2016, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
But even though the group is doing well, the members can’t quit their day-jobs. Hailing from a tourist-haven like Sydney, the band is trapped in the same quagmire that many San Diego artists find themselves in — playing in a band doesn’t pay the rent.
“The cost of living can be extortionate, so everyone works really long hours to pay too much money to live in shitholes,” Joe said. “So you kind of end up with a bunch of exhausted people looking to release somehow, which generally makes for more interesting art.”
Sound familiar, San Diego?
Royal Headache plays the Soda Bar on Saturday, July 9.