• Clayton Bolger

Loving the Wesley

I love playing in the Wesley Goodlet Jamboree Scouts.

We've had an awesome growth spell in the last few years. When we lost our semi-regular Sunday gig at The Carine for the final time in March last year, I thought that would be the beginning of the end for us. We'd only just lost our Friday nights at Rosie O'Grady's in Fremantle too, which made it even more disheartening. It was quite a different scene for us, playing Fridays compared to relaxed Sunday sessions, but it made us dig a little deeper into some dancier stuff. We thought we were doing really well too, but that's the way the biz goes. Thankfully, we have remained the go-to band for Rosie's Freo whenever there's a special night, for instance Good Friday Eve or ANZAC Day Eve. In the midst of despair came a shining light, in the form of Lakers Tavern in Thornlie. Apparently, the regular punters had asked the management to get a band on Sunday, so we were hired for the month of April on a trial basis. As of the time of me writing this blog, we're still there. In fact, our session recently expanded from three hours to a four hour set. One of the bouncers mentioned to the staff that once we finished playing the majority of the crowd left. So, an extra hour was requested! Over the last fourteen months or so, I have had to play with many different line-ups due to Shaun and Kieran's commitments with Murphy's Lore, or various other occasions. I think at last count, there have been ten or eleven different version of WGJS. Bass players and drummers aren't always easy to come by, you know? Two other Perth musicians have become regular Scout fill-ins; bassist Manoli (Manny) Vouyoucalos and drummer Haans Dreiberg. There have been a few instances where the line-up has been me, Shaun and Haans; or me, Kieran and Manny. Occasionally, Manny & Haans have stepped in to form what has affectionately become known as The B Team when Kieran and Shaun have been unavailable. So, just using those four guys there are four different line-ups. Each has a slightly different repertoire and some songs sit better than others depending on the players. It's quite fascinating. This made me into something of a Tim Freedman figure, as I remain the one constant in a ferris wheel of musicians. There have been quite a few bassists and drummers who have stepped up to fill-in and each one has brought something a little different. It's quite exciting (and terrifying) to meet someone for the first time and then play a gig with them, which has happened on a handful of occasions. Over the last few months, our Lakers gig has rarely strayed from the usual line-up which has seen the band's list of songs grow extensively. It doesn't hurt to have the odd request thrown at us from the regular attendees from time to time either. Some of our staple tracks were born from audience shout-outs.

We've managed to secure a semi-regular at Rosie O'Grady's in Northbridge every other Friday night since July last year, which we still have. We currently split Fridays between Rosie's North and the Kalamunda Hotel. There have been some weekends recently where we've played Friday, Saturday and Sunday! This year, and late last year, has seen WGJS become busier than we've every been, and I'm so grateful for it. The atmosphere is always fun, no matter who I play with. That sense of mischief and love of music bleeds through each line-up, and it's glorious.

One thing that I've held onto with great glee was said to us at Rosie's Freo by Perth muso Tom Tapping: "Most bands do ten standards and one surprise. You guys do ten surprises and one standard!" Yes. Yes, we do.


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