Australian Band Makes Pensacola Their Home Away From Home
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.
The saying's true for all rock acts in the United States, and it's the seasoned anthem of Australia's most successful rock band, AC/DC. The song's arguably Australia's national anthem as well-ignore what they're saying in Cranberra. But don't ignore Australia's latest transplant, Long Reef.
Long Reef hopes to establish their band in Pensacola later this year in spite of what talking heads speculate will happen to our local economy.
"I don't know how it generally works with locals and tourists coming to shows. Destin feels like a tourist attraction, so it's hard to say about Pensacola. I'm hoping the oil doesn't affect our shows," said singer Josh Barker, 28.
The oil slick shouldn't be a problem for Barker and his bandmates. They'll play the oil-free stage at the Deck at the Fish House every Wednesday all month long. Wednesday is Ladies Night, and from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Long Reef will play original songs and covers of recent songs like "Use Somebody" and "Gives You Hell."
Their "live from the basement" rendition of "Gives You Hell" is on YouTube, and I'll argue it's better than the All-American Rejects version. Reef's music isn't as pop radio-friendly, and their vocals are obviously polished.
"When we go back to Australia we play as many bars and pubs as possible to polish our sound," said Barker. "The Fish House shows feel like the environment we had back home...but the fans have different accents."
Barker is the vocalist and writes the songs. He listens to John Mayer and Kings of Leon, and he was brought up on Bon Jovi and Metallica. His mom took him to see Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet Tour when he was 10 years old, and from that point on he started taking guitar lessons.
"Half the songs are personal or something my friends have been through. When I co-write, I put myself in a topic where I can be in someone else's shoes," said Barker. "The song 'Moving On' is about a friend of mine who was in a long relationship that ended after seven years. I was in L.A., and he was telling me about what he was going through over the phone. It's become one of our best songs."
In the last two to three years the band has focused on songwriting. Just last year Barker was writing in Nashville when Chad Kroeger from Nickelback discovered his songs and wanted to work with him in Atlanta.
"We're trying to fit together a schedule with Chad. Now we're just chilling and trying to do a few shows," said Barker.
Waiting for their chance to work with Kroeger and needing to polish their act, the band left landlocked Nashville for Pensacola's coast. They've already played the Fish House a handful of times, and one show in Destin ended in a torrential downpour. Nonetheless, their spirits are high, and they fully expect to earn plenty of new fans this summer. Barker said people can come out and expect a high-energy show.
"We're four dudes who like to meet people and have fun."More: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klAx2-pX0yE