The Jam – Battle of the Bands returns to Brisbane’s home of live music this month after two years in hiatus due to restrictions caused by the pandemic.
The community event, which is led by the BGS Old Boys’ Association, was a sell-out in its inaugural year in 2019, packing out Newstead venue The Triffid.
Ex-Powderfinger bassist and BGS Old Boy John Collins ’87 said The Jam – Battle of the Bands is ‘a celebration of the rich heritage’ the School has in music.
Collins, who owns The Triffid, said the idea for the event came out of the 119th Annual BGS Old Boys Reunion Dinner in 2018.
“A few years ago, I was invited along to an Old Boys dinner with the idea to celebrate the musicians that have come from the School,” he said.
“It was Cameron Feltham’s concept. We put on a couple of songs at a function for the Old Boys, and the feedback was great.”
Old Boys who have carved out a successful musical career include legendary guitarist Simon Gardner ‘85, David Kidd ’88 from The Ten Tenors, The Go-Betweens front-man Robert Forster ’74, and Shag Rock trio Alex Wilson ’12, Jacob Reed ’12 and Nick Cavdarski ’12.
Collins, who began as a full-time boarder at BGS in 1984, formed his first band at BGS with Old Boy Steve Bishop ’87 and played his first gig at the Great Hall.
“We played about six songs at a school dance,’ recalled Collins. “I think four of us were boarders, and we called ourselves The Undertakers.”
Two years after graduating, ‘JC’ and Bishop formed iconic Aussie rock band Powderfinger alongside fellow BGS Old Boy Ian Haug ’87.
But Collins, 51, said The Jam – Battle of the Bands is as much for part-time musicians as it is for seasoned professionals and up-and-coming stars.
“There’s a lot of people who went to the School who are really good musicians that never made it, and who now play music as a hobby,” he said.
“One of the highlights from 2019 was seeing an Old Boy in his seventies sing, and his grandkids were there loving it.”
“That was pretty cool. They will see grandad a bit differently from now on, I think.”