Photography: Aaron Tung
Playing out here is amazing, there are so many unfamiliar faces out in the crowd it's crazy
Marking their sophomore appearance on the Stay Gold stage comes Gippsland's humble outfit, Doonie Way.
Originating as a Royal Blood cover band, the four-piece have grown into an established alternative rock project, encapsulating a more refined sound from the likes of Luca Brasi and Violent Soho with a bit of classic Aussie punk twang thrown in. Procuring remarkable amounts of streams from one of their singles Stumblin', the boys make strides on the local scene, debuting as headliners in Melbourne for the first time ever.
Doonie Way's live career has been spent supporting iconic Australian groups from the likes of Hands Like Houses, The Bennies and The Smith Street Band.
The intrigue behind this band lies with the boys' friendly demeanour, to their fellow musicians and fans.
'We love our supporting acts,' said frontman Bryce, 'like for us, well for me, I still honestly feel like a supporting band. I don't feel different to them you know?
There's nothing better than the sensation of having your shoes inevitably sticking to beer-stained floors as punters trickle into the venue. The small show atmosphere is an undeniably wholesome experience that remains unmatched. Stay Gold was the venue that broke the one-year performance drought held by the band following a tedious 2020.
Having spent months behind doors, without the opportunities to play gigs, the four-piece worked and meticulously practised their setlist tirelessly. 'Every song we played tonight, except for the cover and Stumblin’ was an original worked on through COVID,' bassist D'Arcy explained 'It feels really good to show people all those songs we practised during coronavirus; we were on that set list for months. So, to finally show people what we’ve been doing, feels really good.
With the help of the self-titled 'fun time party band,' FLOGS kicked the night off with a tidy list of tracks, delivering a solid opening act. From the get-go, the band erupted the venue with noise, filling all four corners of the venue. Playing an array of originals and covers to a slowly brewing crowd, these Melbourne boys set the tone for the evening. Barefoot frontman, Adam adopted a likeable stage presence, acknowledging the scarcity of the crowd as punters began to slowly fill the Stay Gold bandroom.
Secondary supports All Regards shortly made their way to the stage to deliver a stellar performance. Hailing from Melbourne's South-East, the alternative rock 3-piece upped the ante and
heightened crowd anticipation. The trio traded in endearing comments towards the other performers of the night, upholding the sense of community that is always found at local shows. Punters were treated to a surprising Covered in Chrome cover, accompanied by Doonie Way drummer Blaike, who took on the vocals in fantastic fashion.
‘It was fun. It was fun,’ Blaike admitted. ‘Yeah, was kinda freaking out honestly, never done that before.’ The cover was met with delight from punters, as the crowd grew in anticipation for the headliners.
As per band tradition, Doonie Way made to the stage, soundtracked by Technotronic’s Pump Up The Jam, encapsulating the outfit’s whimsical demeanour.
‘We recently decided to walk out to sort of funky music I guess’ explained D’Arcy, ‘It’s become a ritual of sorts.’
The endless hours of practice reflected in their set, as the band played a polished performance from the first chord to the last cymbal crash. Consisting mostly of unreleased originals, the set was regarded as a trial run for their upcoming projects said guitarist Aidan.
‘It is a bit of a test. It was good to see a positive reaction from the crowd to stuff we haven’t put out yet. We have lots of family and friends who we can trial run the music through to get a real honest opinion.’
The band have adopted a slow method of releases to optimise listenership and streams, as opposed to releasing a full EP.
'It is a slow process of getting a song done right. We’ve had Nowhere To Run, for a while now, we did an acoustic version that sounds completely different to the one we recorded. It took us a
while but we really worked on it and the final product that we have now, ready to release is what we want,' said the frontman Bryce.
The most attractive thing about fresh local talent like Doonie Way is their undeniable humbling stage presence. Being given the opportunity to headline after being in lockdown for so long came as a breath of fresh air to all the members and supporters involved.
Their modest attitude stems from their past status as supporters of household Australian bands. ‘To us, well at least to me, I still feel like a supporting band you know? Like I’m just the same as you, I’m no different,’ Explained Bryce, ‘Obviously we aren’t gonna want to be nice to people who are assholes, but so far everyone was been fuckin’ so nice to us.’
These past few months have laid the cobblestone path for the indie-rock outfit's future in the industry. With a new single finally on the market, all eyes should be on this cherished ensemble.
For more about Doonie Way